The US Air Force Sikorsky HH-60W “Jolly Green II” Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH) finished developmental tests this week at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. Tests began in May 2019 and accumulated more than 1,100 flight test hours among six aircraft.
Tests included examination of the helicopter’s flight performance, communications systems, cold and hot weather performance, and rescue hoist system at the McKinley Climatic lab. After 23 months of developmental testing, the new combat chopper concluded testing with the live-firing of three guns, including its GAU-2 Gatling gun.
“The final test by the Sikorsky and air force team was on the aircraft’s weapon systems,” said the service. “The goal of that test was to both demonstrate the performance of the weapons while optimizing weapon system configurations.”
The test aircraft is currently at Eglin Air Force Base and will undergo modifications before being delivered to the respective Air Force units. Further testing will then be conducted at Nellis AFB, Nevada in 2022.
Two HH-60W Jolly Green IIs prepare to land Nov. 5, 2020 at Moody Air Force Base. The 23d Wing and 347th Rescue Group received the Air Force’s first two HH-60Ws. OLD🚁was the HH60G. (📷Andrea Jenkins) pic.twitter.com/IEp4cGKUmN
— J.J. (@kadonkey) December 11, 2020
The US Air Force received its first two HH-60W Jolly Green II Combat Rescue helicopters in November last year.
Together with its manufacturer, Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky Aircraft Corp, the USAF has already planned upgrades.
The upgrades are said to be needed in response to new threats. In 2012 and 2013, the US Air Force outlined requirements for the upgrades to “address a broad spectrum of known and undefined CRH operational capabilities.”
According to the contract, Sikorsky is expected to deliver 22 helicopters, with the possibility for 19 more, once follow-on contracts are finalized.