By Capt. Lauren Gao, Air Combat Command Public Affairs
Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of Air Combat Command, declared the HH-60W Jolly Green II has reached initial operational capability on Oct. 4.
The declaration means that the U.S. Air Force now possesses sufficient HH-60Ws, logistics requirements and trained Airmen to support a 30-day deployment to any independent location with a package of four aircraft.
“It’s an exciting day for Combat Rescue as we bring a new platform and its upgraded capabilities into operation,” said Maj. Gen. David Lyons, ACC director of operations. “This declaration is the culmination of years of hard work and vision. Current and future combat environments require us to maneuver further and faster than ever before, and the capabilities provided by the Jolly Green II supports the platform’s viability for our Air Force Personnel Recovery core function for as long as possible.”
The 23rd Wing at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, one of the first locations to receive the HH-60W, held a ceremony to mark the declaration Sept. 9.
“The Airmen of the 23rd Wing have done a tremendous job working with partners to get this aircraft combat-ready on time,” said Col. Russ Cook, 23rd Wing commander. “Bottom line, the future of Air Force Rescue is secure, and our team is ready to recover anybody, anytime, anywhere, against any adversary.”
The HH-60W offers a range of improved capabilities over its predecessor, the HH-60G Pave Hawk, to include improved range and survivability, a new fuel system, advanced avionics and more. As a digitally focused platform, it also allows faster movement of data and better integration with other platforms and combatant command capabilities.
These upgrades will continue to enable safer search and rescue operations and provide the joint force with the capabilities needed to accomplish the complex and critical mission of personnel recovery.