US Air Force Declares Initial Operational Capability of Sikorsky HH-60W Jolly Green II

A US Air Force Sikorsky Jolly Green II helicopter hovering over trees.
Photo Credit: Sikorsky

LONDON – The U.S. Air Force declared Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the HH-60W Jolly Green II Combat Rescue Helicopter, validating the platform’s operational readiness to forward deploy Air Force rescue crews around the globe.

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, designed and manufactures the HH-60W, which enables the U.S. Air Force to conduct rescue missions at greater ranges and in the most challenging environments, and with increased survivability.

“This declaration is a vote of confidence from U.S. Air Force leadership and demonstrates the critical role of and need for the HH-60W,” said Nathalie Previte, vice president, Sikorsky Army & Air Force Systems.

“Sikorsky is committed to continuing deliveries of the Department of Defense’s only dedicated combat search and rescue (CSAR) helicopter and to provide the most capable platform to rescue crews who depend on this aircraft day-in and day-out to conduct vital life-saving missions.”

In addition to the IOC declaration, on September 7, the Air Force conducted its first successful mission utilizing the HH-60W to transport a man from Valdosta State University in Georgia to a hospital in Tampa, Florida. 

Additionally, the Air Force recently announced the aircraft has been deployed for the first time to provide rescue services in support of contingency operations.

U.S. Air Force Purpose-Built Rescue Helicopter


As the sole dedicated combat rescue platform in the Department of Defense, the Jolly Green II Combat Rescue Helicopter builds on the decades-long legacy of U.S. Air Force combat rescue.

The HH-60W Jolly Green II, which is replacing the aging HH-60G Pavehawk, was specially built for the Air Force’s combat rescue mission based on fully-vetted operational requirements.

The next generation helicopter provides enhanced survivability while recovering isolated personnel from hostile territory, day or night, in adverse weather, and in a full range of threat environments.

It enables Air Force Combat Rescue Team to fulfill their mission “That Others May Live” and “Leave No One Behind”.

Mission-Critical Capabilities & Life Saving Support


The new HH-60W Jolly Green II will replace the HH-60G Pave Hawk fleet. Leveraging the proven survivability and reliability of the H-60M Black Hawk, the HH-60W Jolly Green II incorporates advanced digital design techniques, and an open architecture for rapid mission system integration.,

The helicopter is equipped with an air refuelling system, upgraded survivability and defensive systems, cabin and cockpit armour, integrated weapons, and an increased main fuel tank capacity to 644 gallons.

These advanced technologies enable the Jolly Green II to meet the Combatant Commander’s demands of today and the emerging Joint All Domain Operations (JADO) requirements in near peer competition and win in conflict.

Capability Highlights
  • Expanded aerodynamic and hover performance
  • Increased main full tank – 644 gallons vs 360 gallons – and air refuellable for greater range
  • Advanced and integrated survivability and defensive systems
  • Expanded communications including two Tactical Datalinks & Intel Receivers for Net-centric connectivity to operate in the joint-all domain environment
  • Higher resolution sensors
  • Larger main cabin
  • Upgraded armor and ballistic protection

Sikorsky has delivered 24 aircraft to the Air Force, including all Engineering & Manufacturing Development and Lot 1 aircraft.  Lot 2 deliveries, comprised of 12 aircraft, began in June of this year.

Sikorsky has been awarded four production lots to date, most recent recently Lot 4 for 14 aircraft in February 2022. The contract for Lot 5 for an additional 10 or more aircraft is expected to be awarded by the Air Force in 2023.

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