By Samuel King Jr.
/ Published April 15, 2021
A 413th Flight Test Squadron HH-60W Pave Hawk hangs in the anechoic chamber at the Joint Preflight Integration of Munitions and Electronic Systems hangar, Jan. 6, 2020, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The J-PRIMES anechoic chamber is a room designed to stop internal reflections of electromagnetic waves, as well as insulate from external sources of electromagnetic noise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Samuel King Jr.)
An HH-60W Jolly Green II sits in a frozen chamber in the McKinley Climatic Lab, March 19, 2020, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The Air Force’s newest combat search and rescue helicopter and crews experienced temperature extremes from 120 to minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit as well as torrential rain during the month-long testing period. The tests evaluate how the aircraft and its instrumentation, electronics and crew fare under the extreme conditions it will face during operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Samuel King Jr.)
An HH-60W Jolly Green II connected with a HC-130J tanker for its first ever aerial refueling over southern Alabama Aug. 5, 2020. The Air Force’s new combat search and rescue helicopter is currently undergoing developmental and operational testing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Tristan McIntire)
An aircrew member looks out on storm clouds from an HH-60W Jolly Green II July 27 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The combat search and rescue helicopter is undergoing developmental testing at the squadron facility at Duke Field. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)
Crews from the 413th Flight Test Squadron prepare a HH-60W Jolly Green II for a day of weapons testing on the range near Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Aug 21, 2020. The day of testing was with the GAU-18, a .50 caliber legacy machine gun that has a fire rate between 650-850 rpm. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. John Raven)
An HH-60W Jolly Green II sits under bright lights used to create heat in the McKinley Climatic Lab March 19 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The Air Force’s new combat search and rescue helicopter and crews experienced temperature extremes from 120 to minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit as well as torrential rain during the month of testing. The tests evaluate how the aircraft and its instrumentation, electronics and crew fare under the extreme conditions it will face in the operational Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)
An HH-60W Jolly Green II taxies in followed by an AH-64 Apache May 19 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The Air Force and Army aircraft (respectively) completed a joint test of the HH-60W systems leveraging the unique configuration of the Apache to provide capabilities normally not available at Eglin AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)
A new HH-60W combat rescue helicopter taxies in to its new home Nov. 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The aircraft was delivered to the 413th Flight Test Squadron located at Duke Field. The combat rescue helicopter was the first of two new test aircraft for the developmental test squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)
The Air Force’s new combat search and rescue helicopter, the HH-60W Jolly Green II, completed its developmental test program here April 13.
The final test by the Sikorsky and Air Force team was on the aircraft’s weapon systems. The goal of that test was to both demonstrate the performance of the weapons while optimizing weapon system configurations.
“The timely completion of this test program represents an amazing accomplishment by the HH-60W Integrated Test Team,” said Joe Whiteaker, the 413th Flight Test Squadron HH-60W flight chief. “The team consistently overcame tremendous adversity through a mix of innovation and sheer determination.”
The result of those labors ensured both the warfighter and the program’s decision-makers were well-informed on the Jolly Green II’s performance.
The test efforts began in May 2019 with the first HH-60W flight. The aircraft arrived here to the 413th FLTS in November 2019 although various tests took place in other locations. The integrated test team accumulated over 1,100 flight test hours across six aircraft testing the full spectrum of aircraft systems.
Some of the notable developmental tests were aircraft performance, communications systems, environmental test at McKinley Climatic Lab, aerial refueling, data links, defensive systems, cabin systems, rescue hoist and live-fire of three weapon systems.
The test aircraft located here, will be modified for operational use before being transferred to their respective Air Force rescue unit. The Jolly Green II’s developmental test mission will move to the Combat Search and Rescue Combined Test Force for follow-on testing at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada in 2022.
“I am incredibly proud of the many people from so many organizations who have come together to pull off a really challenging test program,” Lt. Col. Wayne Dirkes, the 413 FLTS commander. “The team’s relentless focus on keeping the end in mind, aligning activity with their goals and moving forward quickly with discipline resulted in execution of a safe and highly successful test program in the face of incredible pressure.”