HH-60G Pave Hawks head to retirement

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Two 920th Rescue Wing HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters were loaded into a 433rd Airlift Wing's C-5 Galaxy aircraft by 920th Maintenance Group Airmen and C-5 aircrew on May 1.

Pave Hawks 6470 and 6233 mark the latest helicopters to undergo transfer to retirement at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group in Arizona as the 920th RQW continues its conversion to the HH-60W Jolly Green II helicopter. The 943d Rescue Group, a geographically separated unit of the 920th RQW located on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, received the wing's first HH-60W on Feb. 1.

As the HH-60G successor, the HH-60W will enhance the capabilities of the 301st and 305th Rescue Squadrons to perform the wing’s mission to plan, lead and conduct military rescue operations and missions in order to deny competitors and adversaries exploitation of isolated personnel. Its name, “Jolly Green II”, honors Jolly Green crews of previous generations who set the precedent for Air Force rescue.

The HH-60W comes with advanced avionics which include a flight management system combined with a flight director system, weather radar and over-the-horizon tactical data receivers capable of receiving near real-time mission and threat updates. The Jolly Green II has a longer cabin, can reach a faster top speed and has an increased allowed takeoff weight. Additional mission equipment upgrades include a 600-pound-capable hoist with 250 feet of cable, a personnel-locating system compatible with modern survival radios and an 8,000-pound capacity cargo hook.

The new airframe enhances the wing’s rescue capabilities across various combat scenarios, improving effectiveness for aircrew, which include two pilots and two special missions aviators.