Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of Air Combat Command, said the HH-60W Jolly Green II reached initial operational capability on October 4, 2022.
The statement means the US Air Force now has enough HH-60Ws, logistical requirements and trained airmen to sustain a 30-day deployment to any independent location with a set of four aircraft.
“It’s an exciting day for Combat Rescue as we field a new platform and its enhanced capabilities,” said Maj. Gen. David Lyons, director of operations at Air Combat Command. “This statement is the culmination of years of hard work and vision. Current and future combat environments require us to maneuver farther and faster than ever before, and the capabilities provided by the Jolly Green II support the viability of the platform for our primary function of Army personnel recovery. looks 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.
“23 Wing Airmen have done a tremendous job working with partners to get this aircraft ready for combat on time,” said 23 Wing Commander Col. Russ Cook. “Bottom line, Air Force Rescue’s future is secure and our team stands ready to rescue anyone, anytime, anywhere, from 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 digital-first platform, it also enables faster movement of data and better integration with other Combatant Command platforms and 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.