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Pave Hawks – New Combat Rescue Helicopter

HH-60Gs refuel from HC-130PN

Fuel the Pave Hawks
(click to view full)

January 18/23: From HH-60 To HH-60W The US Air Force has started phasing out one of its oldest and most reliable assets, the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter. This move comes as the Air Force’s 55th RQS (Rescue Squadron) has just returned from a successful deployment, during which the Pave Hawk fleet played a crucial role in a variety of missions, including personnel recovery, casualty evacuation and on-call support to joint and coalition forces. The 55th RQS, based at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, is now preparing to fully integrate the new HH-60W Jolly Green II helicopter into its fleet. This newer helicopter model is expected to bring increased aircraft availability and newer technologies to the table, which will be leveraged by 55th RQS aircrews to continue the vital mission of combat search and rescue operations.

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HH-60G, Afghanistan (click to view full) In 2006 the US Air Force awarded Boeing a contract worth north of $10 billion for 141 HH-47 combat search-and-rescue helicopters, but by mid-2009 the CSAR-X program was cancelled during its System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase by the Pentagon. At the time Secretary of Defense Robert Gates wrote that this program had “a troubled acquisition history and raises the fundamental question of whether this important mission can only be accomplished by yet another single-service solution.” That cancellation may have been warranted, but the underlying operational constraints are increasing as years go by, with a tentative replacement for aging helicopters that keeps slipping. In 2012, the Air Force got the green light to take another crack at it. The competition narrowed to a single bidder, and after wobbly budgetary announcements, the program was greenlighted. By the end of 2014 it was officially designated as HH-60W. Aging HH-60G Pave Hawks A solution to replace the USAF’s aging HH-60G Pave Hawk combat search and rescue helicopters becomes more pressing as SAR(Search And Rescue) and MEDEVAC(MEDical EVACuation) flight hours keep piling in. These helos are derived from early-model UH-60 Black Hawks, and were fielded starting in 1982 […]

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