KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
The 58th Special Operations Wing at Kirtland AFB welcomed the Air Force’s newest combat search and rescue helicopter, the HH-60W “Jolly Green II,” Dec. 17.
The “Jolly Green II” is named after the Vietnam-era HH-3E “Jolly Green” and HH-53 “Super Jolly Green,” whose crews pioneered the combat search and rescue mission and will be used to train the Air Force’s aircrew members.
“”This helicopter greatly increases our capabilities to train mission-ready aircrews and also provides better abilities for our 512th Rescue Squadron and the entire personnel recovery and special operations communities,” Col. Michael Curry, 58th Special Operations Wing commander, said. “The diversity of aircrew training opportunities within New Mexico provides training conditions similar to current or potential operational conditions, ensuring Airmen are prepared for any worldwide mission they are tasked to perform. The HH-60W augments our current aircraft – the CV-22, HC-130J, MC-130J, UH-1N, TH-1N and HH-60Gs.”
Members of Detachment 2 of the 58th Operations Group are part of the organization formed to on-board the HH-60W under the 58th SOW.
“With this new aircraft, the aircrews that we train here will have increased situational awareness of the battlespace when they deploy with their operational units,” said Maj. Matt Johnson, commander of Detachment 2, 58th Operations Group, .
The 41st Rescue Squadron at Moody AFB, Georgia, was the first operational unit to receive the HH-60W, in early November.
“It’s a leap forward in technology, between offensive and defensive weapon systems, crew survivability and the ability to plug into the fifth-generation hierarchy,” said Lt. Col. Brian Dicks, 512th Rescue Squadron operations officer responsible for the HH-60W training program. “Where the entire Air Force is moving into multi-domain – this gets us into that fight. We’re just finding more efficient, better ways to do the mission.”
A new, one-of-a-kind, full-motion HH-60W weapon system trainer is also being tested here. Once fully certified, aircrew students will train in the simulator to enhance skills.
“The ‘W’ version is a modernized, more capable version of the ‘G,’ with updated navigation and avionics packages,” said Col. John Baquet, 58th Maintenance Group commander. “Technology advances are light-years ahead of the ‘G,’ and have made improvements across all the different mission requirements this aircraft will face.”
The HH-60W, manufactured by Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., features advanced and improved defensive systems, vulnerability reduction, hover performance, electrical capacity, avionics, cooling, weapons, cyber-security, environmental and net-centric requirements.
The primary mission of the HH-60W helicopter will be conducting day or night combat search and rescue operations into hostile environments to recover isolated personnel during war.
The HH-60W will also be tasked to perform military operations other than war, including civil search and rescue, medical evacuation, disaster response, humanitarian assistance, security cooperation/aviation advisory, NASA space flight support, and rescue command and control.