Another key milestone has been reached for Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Air Force.
On May 18, 2021, Lockheed Martin delivered the first production HH-60W Jolly Green II Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH) to the U.S. Air Force.
The Sikorsky team, in partnership with the Air Force, has been working diligently to prepare for this delivery, meeting and exceeding their goal of starting deliveries of the LRIP Lot 1 aircraft by June of this year.
This is the first Jolly Green II to be delivered as part of the Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Lot 1 contract for 10 aircraft, which was awarded in 2019. The LRIP Lot 2 contract was awarded in 2020 for an additional 12 aircraft, which will also be built and delivered out of Sikorsky’s main production facility in Stratford, Conn.
Long anticipated by Air Force search and rescue squadrons, the next generation aircraft will replace the existing HH-60G Pave Hawk, its long serving predecessor. The HH-60W increases range, lethality, and survivability, offering a suite of technological advancements for added situational awareness, safety, and reliability of missions, particularly in high threat environments. This means more lives saved – the ultimate objective of the brave crews that fly the combat rescue mission.
Sikorsky hosted a commemorative COVID-compliant event in Stratford to mark this initial delivery, which was attended by select Air Force and Lockheed Martin leadership, as well as select employees supporting the CRH program. The extended team tuned into the event virtually.
Sikorsky President Paul Lemmo recognized the significance of the combat rescue mission and its alignment with the vision of Sikorsky founder Igor Sikorsky to build helicopters that save lives. “The rescue mission – saving lives – is perfectly aligned with the vision of our founder, Igor Sikorsky. That tradition is still foremost in our mission statement, bringing people home everywhere every time.”
He emphasized the critical role that the HH-60W will have in serving the Air Force’s critical missions and saving lives. “The HH-60W Jolly Green II was built specifically to advance the rescue mission, offering new capabilities not available on the current platform to help the brave Air Force crews out in the field do what it is they do best, so that others may live.”
The Air Force had their own message to share at the event.
“On behalf of the Air Force, I want to congratulate and thank this team delivering our first production aircraft,” said Col. William Rogers, Program Executive Officer for Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) and Special Operations Forces (SOF), during his remarks. “Not only did you deliver the aircraft within 19 months of contract award, but you also kept it within two months of schedule… that’s impressive, given COVID, and everything that this collective team had to work through during the pandemic.”
Lt. Col Kevin Geoffroy, Commander of the 41st Rescue Squadron, Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, leads the largest active duty HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue squadron in the Air Force and was one of the first to welcome and inspect the HH-60W when it arrived at Moody back in November of last year. At the event he proudly described himself as an HH-60W pilot.
“Our unit is the first squadron to fly the HH-60 Whiskey Jolly Green II operationally, and we’ve been seasoning our crews on this exciting new aircraft since December. I can personally attest to the thrill derived from flying and discovering the secrets of our new helicopter.”
He also described how the new aircraft will enable the U.S. Air Force to carry out its rescue missions.
“So, what will the HH-60 Whiskey Jolly Green II do for us? The HH-60 Whiskey is the chariot that will help us take our intrepid airmen into the future. This specifically designed tool will give our airmen the advantage in saving U.S and allied personnel across the globe. Specifically, the new tactical mission systems, defensive systems, and integrated avionics onboard the HH-60 Whiskey give us near, real time information that is vital to expeditiously rescuing the survivor. The inclusion of the refueling probe and the new integrated fuel tanks will give us the extended range we need to reach our warriors wherever they are.”
“We’re extremely excited about continually unlocking the capabilities of the Jolly Green II and ensuring that there is no man or woman left behind on the battlefield,” Geoffroy concluded.
A Successful Partnership and Ramping up for Full-Rate Production
Dana Fiatarone, vice president of Army & Air Force Systems, is extremely proud of the work that Sikorsky employees have done to ensure timely delivery of the first production HH-60W.
“We are honored to create these state-of-the-art, vital, and advanced aircraft for the U.S. Air Force,” said Fiatarone. “The production line is now running, and hundreds of dedicated team members are hard at work on fulfilling our low rate production schedule, as we get ready to ramp up for full-rate production.”
Both Fiatarone and Lemmo praised the hard work of the people behind the HH-60W and credited the program’s success to those efforts and the successful partnership between the Air Force and Sikorsky.
“This milestone reflects many years of dedication, innovation, and ongoing commitment to the U.S. Air Force and its critical missions. I want to thank the U.S. Air Force for their trust, partnership, and dedication to the safeguarding of lives and the security of our nation and allies.”
Sikorsky has completed manufacturing of all aircraft under the initial development contract and has delivered five System Demonstration and Test Articles and three Engineering and Manufacturing Development aircraft to Moody Air Force Base in Georgia and Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico.
Deliveries of the new HH-60W “Jolly Green II” aircraft to Air Force bases will continue to allow for maintenance training and air crew seasoning. As part of the LRIP Lot 1 and Lot 2 contracts, 22 total HH-60W Jolly Green II’s are scheduled to be completed and delivered to the U.S. Air Force. The Lot 3 contract award for 19 aircraft is expected to be awarded later this year.
The Lockheed Martin team will continue to deliver the most advanced combat rescue capabilities and looks forward to executing the program of record of 113 HH-60W Jolly Green II aircraft to modernize the Air Force’s aged CSAR fleet and support all services in combat.
- The HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter achieves First Flight in May 2019.
- The U.S. Air Force awards Sikorsky the Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Lot 1 contract for 10 HH-60W aircraft in September 2019 following a Milestone C decision.
- A follow-on Lot 2 contract for 12 aircraft is awarded in February 2020 and the Air Force reveals the helicopter’s name of “Jolly Green II” that same month.
- A successful flight test program involving both Air Force and Sikorsky pilots concluded in April of this year.
- Completion of extreme weather conditions testing at Eglin Air Force Base in April 2020.
- The HH-60W successfully performed various aerial refueling tests in August 2020, completing flight test requirements and meeting all specifications.
- Completion of manufacturing of all aircraft under the initial contract and delivery of 5 SDTA and 3 EMD aircraft to Moody Air Force Base in Georgia and Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico.
- Commencement of LRIP Lot 1 deliveries in May 2020
See the HH-60W Jolly Green II Combat Rescue Helicopter’s march toward full mission readiness in this video.
Capabilities of the HH-60W Jolly Green II
- Building on the state-of-the-art UH-60M Black Hawk, the HH-60W Jolly Green II adds capability advancements to better support the full range of combat rescue and other special missions.
- Designed to meet long-range and high threat requirements for the U.S. Air Force
- The HH-60W builds upon the UH-60M’s versatility by doubling the internal fuel capacity without the use of space hungry auxiliary fuel tanks
- Provides a robust weapons suite
- Integrates defensive systems and sensors to provide an unprecedented combination of range and survivability.