Sikorsky will build 12 additional HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopters (CRH) following a second Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP Lot II) contract award by the U.S. Air Force. The award, announced during the annual Air Force Association (AFA) Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida, is valued at more than $500 million and follows a string of significant program milestones in 2019, including First Flight, a Milestone C decision by the Air Force, and notice of the first LRIP contract for 10 aircraft.
“This second contract award demonstrates the confidence the U.S. Air Force has in Sikorsky’s proven ability to deliver and support the next generation combat search and rescue helicopter,” said Greg Hames, Sikorsky’s CRH program director. “Our team works daily – and in close collaboration with our customer – to ensure we build and deliver this highly capable and much-needed helicopter to the warfighter.”
Secretary of the Air Force Barbara M. Barrett also used the AFA Symposium to reveal the new name for the HH-60W CRH – “Jolly Green II.” The moniker is a proud nod to the "Jolly Green Giant," the nickname given to the Sikorsky-built HH-3E, the first production helicopter that could be refueled while in flight. This rugged aircraft performed critical search and rescue (CSAR) operations during the Southeast Asia War through Operation Desert Storm. The U.S. Air Force retired its last HH-3E in 1995.
“Reviving the Jolly Green name honors our combat search and rescue crews past and present. Those who operate this aircraft will embody the motto, ‘These Things We Do, That Others May Live,’” said Barrett during the name reveal event. “In the hands of our airmen, this aircraft ensures the rescue community can perform their duties better than ever.”
"We respect the long tradition of assigning a moniker that communicates the CSAR mission,” said Dana Fiatarone, Sikorsky vice president, Army and Air Force Systems. “Jolly Green II is a fitting tribute to its history and to airmen and women worldwide. The name is greatly respected by our workforce – past and present – and it's an honor to build this critical aircraft for the Air Force and bring it to the symposium. We look forward to continued production and executing on the recent Lot 2 contract award."
The ceremony included an HH-60W fly-in, offering an up-close look of the much-anticipated aircraft to the CSAR service members who perform these vital missions. Barrett and U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff General David Goldfein toured the aircraft after its much-anticipated touchdown.
“Performing combat search and rescue and personnel recovery operations for the joint force is what the HH-60W is built to do,” commented Gen. Goldfein. “The Jolly Green II gives us extended range and better capability. I was grateful for a ride out of enemy territory when I needed it and I can tell you first-hand that this aircraft will save lives.”
LRIP of CRH Lot I aircraft major assembly is underway, and the program continues to progress and execute an aggressive flight test schedule. Currently seven CRH aircraft are in flight, two of which are with the Air Force at Duke Field, Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, with all aircraft engaging in expanded flight tests to support the path forward to Required Assets Available (RAA).
The U.S. Air Force program of record calls for 113 helicopters to replace the Pave Hawk fleet. During the Engineering & Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase of the program, a total of nine aircraft will be built at Sikorsky’s Stratford, Connecticut, facility ― four EMD aircraft and five System Demonstration Test Articles.
HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH) or Jolly Green II
Two Airmen Honored
During the name reveal ceremony, Secretary Barrett recognized retired Col. Barry Kamhoot and retired Chief Master Sgt. Wayne Fisk, honoring them for their distinguished service and contributions to the combat rescue mission.
Kamhoot was one of the original Jolly Green pilots who flew HH-3E and HH-53 aircraft. Kamhoot flew missions into Vietnam, including a harrowing recovery of two Navy crewmen while under fire.
Fisk received the Silver Star for his actions while manning an HH-3E Jolly Green Giant during the 1970 Son Tay Prisoner of War Camp Raid. He is also credited with being the first to notice the famed “green feet” impressions the HH-3E Jolly Green would leave after landing. The footprints came to symbolize the combat search and rescue mission and are incorporated in the new Jolly Green II logo.