First Operational HH-60W Jolly Green II CSAR Helicopters Delivered To The U.S. Air Force

An HH-60W Jolly Green II assigned to the 41st Rescue Squadron flies to Moody Air Force Base Nov. 5, 2020, near Jupiter, Florida. The 23d Wing and 347th Rescue Group leadership received the Air Force’s first two HH-60Ws. The delivery of the new model is significant to the personnel recovery mission as it begins the transition from the predecessor, the HH-60G Pave Hawk, which has been flown for more than 26 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Hayden Legg)

The two HH-60W Jolly Green II helicopters have arrived at Moody AFB and will be used to begin the transition from the HH-60G Pave Hawk.

The U.S. Air Force received the first two operational HH-60W Jolly Green II helicopters (serials 17-14488 and 17-14489) specialized for Combat Search And Rescue (CSAR) and Personnel Recovery (PR) missions. The 23rd Wing and 347th Rescue Group leadership were present to witness the arrival of the new helicopters at Moody Air Force Base (Georgia).

The helicopters departed from Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky Training Academy for their new home at the commands of aircrews from Moody’s 41st Rescue Squadron, the first unit to transition from the HH-60G Pave Hawk to the HH-60W, and from the 413th Flight Test Squadron and 88th Test and Evaluation Squadron based at Duke Field (Florida).

The Jolly Green II underwent extensive testing at Duke Field, including extreme temperatures, radar, defensive systems, live fire and aerial refueling. The Air Force was initially expected to receive 113 helicopters, later reduced to 108, as part of the Combat Rescue Helicopter program. Based on the UH-60M, the HH-60W includes a number of improvements over the HH-60G, with a focus on range and survivability.

As stated by the Air Force, the primary mission of the new helicopters will be conducting day or night operations into hostile environments to recover isolated personnel during war, while also being available stateside for civil search and rescue, medical evacuation, disaster response, humanitarian assistance, security cooperation/aviation advisory, NASA space-flight support, and rescue command and control.

The name Jolly Green II was chosen as a reference to the legendary tradition of the Vietnam-era HH-3E Jolly Green and HH-53 Super Jolly Green crews who pioneered the combat search and rescue mission. The two helicopters were replaced by the HH-60G Pave Hawk and the CV-22 Osprey, respectively.

While the Pave Hawk has been in service since 1982, the helicopter was assigned to Moody AFB only in 1994. After 26 years, the base is beginning the transition to the new HH-60W, which will continue to fly together with its predecessor until the transition is complete. The next unit scheduled to receive the new helicopter is the 512th Rescue Squadron at Kirtland AFB (New Mexico).

An HH-60W Jolly Green II taxis Nov. 5, 2020, at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. The 23d Wing and 347th Rescue Group leadership received the Air Force’s first two HH-60Ws. The delivery of the new model is significant to the personnel recovery mission as it begins the transition from the predecessor, the HH-60G Pave Hawk model, which has been flown for more than 26 years. The Air Force will continue to utilize the Pave Hawk until the transition is complete. (U.S. Air Force photo by Andrea Jenkins)
About Stefano D'Urso 225 Articles
Stefano D'Urso is a contributor for TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. He's a full-time engineering student and aspiring pilot. In his spare time he's also an amateur aviation photographer and flight simulation enthusiast.