USAF Names New Helicopter Jolly Green II

Jolly Green II
Credit: Sikorsky

ORLANDO, Florida—The U.S. Air Force has named the HH-60W search-and-rescue helicopter the Jolly Green II five months after it was green lighted for low-rate initial production.

The new helicopter allows for safer search-and-rescue operations, Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett said here Feb. 27 during the Air Warfare Symposium.

The name hearkens back to the Sikorsky HH-3E Jolly Green Giant. Symposium attendees were tipped off on the moniker before the formal naming announcement because there were personnel carrying dismembered parts of a Jolly Green Giant statue at the conference prior to the ceremony.

The new helicopter completed more than 150 hr. of envelope expansion flights, which provided the service data necessary to inform a production decision.

The HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH) is replacing the HH-60G Pave Hawk. The new aircraft is equipped with a new fuel system that nearly doubles the capacity of the internal tank on a UH-60M Black Hawk, giving the Air Force extended range.

The CRH is a substantial upgrade to the HH-60G, with improved communications and increased survivability with radar, laser and missile warning systems, infrared and radar countermeasures, armor and two crew-served weapons.

The all-new tactical mission kit (TMK) comprises adverse weather targeting sensors, data links and defense systems that interface with both digital and analog crew stations. The new helicopter will allow the Air Force to fly in bad weather and gives the aircraft extended reach because it is equipped with an inflight refueling probe and internal fuel tanks.

The TMK is paramount for the HH-60W because it allows the pilot to focus on flying the aircraft while crew station personnel are given access to real-time information to make mission decisions without having to contact the pilot, Greg Hames, CRH program director at Sikorsky, told Aerospace DAILY.

The service’s program of record calls for 113 HH-60W helicopters. Lot 1 is for 10 aircraft and Hames anticipates first delivery will be Feb. 2, 2021. The program will manufacture roughly one aircraft each month, Hames said.