- The Air Force revealed its new name for the next generation combat search and rescue helicopter this week.
- The “Jolly Green Giant II” is a tribute to the original green painted helicopters that rescued down aircrews during the Vietnam War.
- The HH-60W will replace older helicopters, incorporating newer electronics and doubling the aircraft range.
The U.S. Air Force has named its new search and rescue chopper Jolly Green Giant II, in honor of green painted search and rescue helicopters that plucked down pilots and aircrew from danger during Vietnam. The new helicopter, based on the UH-60 Blackhawk, is expected to enter service in the early 2020s.
The HH-60W helicopter will replace the older HH-60G Pave Hawk. Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett unveiled the name at the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium in Florida. According to Air Force Magazine, an early pre-production model of the “Jolly Green Giant” was available for inspection on-site.
The older HH-60G Pave Hawk differed from other Blackhawk variants by having a winch and mid-air refueling capability. The newer HH-60W features “improved avionics, armor, armament, and engines.”
Lockheed Martin also claims it has double the range of other Blackhawks—given that a UH-60M, the latest version of the Blackhawk procured for the U.S. Army has a range of 360 miles, that would make the HH-60W’s range 700 miles or more. Midair refueling would extend that range even further.
The name “Jolly Green Giant II” is a homage to the HH-3 Jolly Green Giant and HH-53 Super Jolly Green Giant helicopters flown by USAF search and rescue teams during the Vietnam War. The large helicopters were painted green and an association with the “Jolly Green Giant,” the famous mascot for the line of frozen vegetables, stuck.
Air Force search and rescue crews kept a statue of their “mascot” at Da Nang airfield in Vietnam. According to Aviation Week & Space Technology editor Stephen Trimble, a new 21st century mascot statute appeared at the Air Warfare Symposium to coincide with the unveiling of the aircraft name.
The Air Force plans to buy 121 Jolly Green Giant IIs, with first deliveries in 2021.
Source: Air Force Magazine
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