HH-60G will soon be replaced by a more advanced platform, the Sikorsky HH-60W “Jolly Green II”, a variant developed based on the UH-60M.
During the Cold War, the HH-3E “Jolly Green Giant” helicopters proved their worth in the dedicated Combat Rescue role. This is a variant of the Sikorsky CH-3E “Sea King” helicopter, which was active in the Vietnam War and the 1991 Gulf War.
From the success of this platform, the HH-53 “Super Jolly Green Giant” was born based on the Sikorsky MH-53 series, and served with the US Air Force until 2008. Today this role is being played by the HH-60G “Pave Hawk”, which was developed from the UH-60A “Credible Hawk”. Continuing with the evolution of the modern combat environment, the HH-60G will soon be replaced by a more advanced platform, the Sikorsky HH-60W “Jolly Green II”, a variant developed based on the UH-60M.
Jolly Green II officially named in February 2020. The helicopter will be equipped with a series of modern and advanced systems to better support rescue forces in contested areas in complex combat environments in all weather conditions.
The standout features of the platform are its long range, double the internal fuel storage of the original Black Hawk, and a flexible weapon system that meets the requirements of the mission. The nose of the helicopter seats an aerial refueling probe, allowing the helicopter access to even longer operational ranges than what is possible on internal fuel stores.
The HH-60W retains the design features of the UH-60M, with a crew of two sitting side by side in the cockpit. Visibility for the pilots is excellent with the prominent large windshield panels. Pilots get in and out via hinged car-style doors while cabin access is through typical Black Hawk-style sliding doors.
A sensor is installed in the “chin”, providing a panoramic view for the crew. The two sides of the fuselage are pylons that support a variety of weapons, including the 12.7mm M2HB Browning Heavy Machine Gun to suppress the enemy. A winch is located on the right side of the airframe for rescue operations.
Above the passenger cabin is a twin-turbo shaft engine that drives the four-bladed composite main rotor blade and a four-bladed tail rotor unit offset to starboard. The cabin can be flexibly arranged to meet mission requirements. In addition to its military role, the HH-60W can respond rapidly to humanitarian assistance, civilian Search and Rescue operations, both on land and in maritime environments.
The US Air Force will purchase approximately 108 to 113 HH-60W Jolly Green II helicopters. Basically HH-60W will retain 100% similarity of engine parts with UH-60M, minimizing logistics, maintenance, and spare parts costs.