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Get to Know the HH-60G PAVE Hawk Helicopter

By Bill Carson  |  January 28, 2022

The HH-60G PAVE Hawk helicopter is a twin-turboshaft engine helicopter used by the United States Air Force primarily for the recovery of personnel under hostile conditions. Keep reading to learn more about the helicopter, its features, famous missions, and much more.

Design and Development of the HH-60G

In the early 1980s, the U.S. Air Force replaced their aging HH-3E Jolly Green Giant helicopters with UH-60A Black Hawks. Over time, the Air Force began upgrading each of the UH-60As with an air refueling probe and additional fuel tanks in the cabin. They also swapped out the 7.62 mm M60 machine guns for .50 caliber XM218s. This new model of helicopter was then referred to as “Credible Hawk” and entered service in 1987.

In 1991, the Air Force planned to upgrade their Credible Hawks and new UH-60As. The upgrades were planned to be completed in a two-step process, yet due to funding, only 16 Credible Hawks could receive the second step equipment.

These 16 helicopters were allocated for special operations use, while the remaining 82 Credible Hawks that received the first step upgrade equipment were used for combat search and rescue. These 82 search and rescue helicopters were then renamed the HH-60G PAVE Hawk helicopter.

Key Features of the HH-60 Helicopter

The HH-60G PAVE Hawk helicopter is a highly modified version of the Army Black Hawk helicopter. With an upgraded communications and navigation suite, the HH-60G is equipped with integrated inertial navigation/global positioning/Doppler navigation systems, secure voice, satellite communications, and HAVE QUICK communications.

Additional key features of this model include:

  • Equipped with an automatic flight control system, night vision goggles, and forward-looking infrared system
  • Outfitted with color weather radar and an engine/rotor blade anti-ice system to give the helicopter adverse weather capabilities
  • Powered by two General Electric T700-GE-700 or T700-GE-701C engines
  • Designed to carry a crew of four (two pilots, one flight engineer, and one gunner)
  • Ability to fly at a cruise speed of 183 mph, with a max speed of 222 mph
  • Inflight refueling probe and auxiliary fuel tanks allow the Pave Hawk to travel longer distances than other rescue helicopters

Additionally, various enhancements and add-ons are available depending on the helicopter’s mission.

HH-60G Mission Capabilities

While the primary mission of the HH-60G helicopter is recovery of personnel from hostile regions, this medium-lift helicopter can be used in various other applications. Some additional missions that HH-60G’s are used for include:

  • Civil search and rescue
  • Medical evacuation
  • Disaster relief
  • Humanitarian assistance
  • Security cooperation and aviation advisory
  • Counterdrug activities
  • NASA space shuttle support
  • Rescue command and control mission

Renowned Missions of the Sikorsky HH-60G

Since its introduction, the HH-60G PAVE Hawk has been used in several well-known operations and has been instrumental in saving lives during natural disasters and major floods. Some of the missions that have benefited from the capabilities of an HH-60G include:

  • Operation Desert Storm – These Sikorsky helicopters provided combat search and rescue coverage for coalition Air Forces in Saudi Arabia, western Iraq, coastal Kuwait, and the Persian Gulf.
  • Operation Allied Force – The PAVE Hawk provided constant combat search and rescue coverage for NATO air forces, and effectively retrieved two U.S. Air Force pilots who were isolated behind enemy lines.
  • Operation Tomodachi – The HH-60G operated as a search and rescue helicopter during the earthquake and tsunami disaster relief in Japan.

Additionally, Sikorsky HH-60G’s were regularly operated during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, and continue to be used in Operation Enduring Freedom. The helicopters support Army and Marine Corps ground combat operations and provide standby search and rescue support for U.S. and Coalition fixed-wing combat aircraft.

Well-Known Variations of the HH-60G

During its decades of operation, the HH-60G has been made available in various iterations, some of which are no longer in operation. Some of the key variations and their specific functionalities include:

  • HH-60A – The HH-60A was a prototype for the HH-60D rescue helicopter and a modified version of the UH-60A designed for combat search and rescue. This variation is equipped with a retractable in-flight refueling probe and a 200-foot cable rescue hoist that has a 600-pound lift capability.
  • HH-60D Night Hawk – The HH-60D Night Hawk was a prototype of a combat rescue helicopter designed for the U.S. Air Force.
  • HH-60E – This helicopter variant was proposed for search and rescue for the U.S. Air Force.
  • MH-60G Pave Hawk – This model was designed for special operations and search and rescue for the U.S. Air Force. The MH-60G Pave Hawk is equipped with long-range fuel tanks, FLIR, improved radar, and air-to-air refueling capability. It is powered by T-700-GE-700/701 engines.
  • Maplehawk – The Maplehawk was a proposed search and rescue variation for the Canadian Forces to replace their aging CH-113 Labradors. After consideration, the Canadian Forces opted for the CH-149 Cormorant instead.
  • HH-60W Jolly Green II – Designed to replace the HH-60G, this is a combat rescue helicopter variant of the UH-60M used by the U.S. Air Force.

How to Keep Your Sikorsky Helicopter Operating Safely

No matter what variation of an HH-60G you deploy, it’s crucial to perform regular maintenance to keep your helicopter running safely and smoothly. At Cutting Dynamics, we offer Sikorsky helicopter phase maintenance kits for the following flight hour intervals:

  • 360-hour
  • 480-hour
  • 720-hour
  • 960-hour

Each of the phase kits contains Sikorsky-approved replacement parts. These parts are organized into five different sections according to our patented color-coded system, making it easy to perform maintenance on your helicopter.

In addition to our maintenance kits, we also offer replacement parts for Sikorsky helicopters. We provide reliable, cost-efficient, and high-quality parts for the following zones of your helicopter:

  • Cockpit (zone 1)
  • Cabin (zone 2)
  • Transition (zone 3)
  • Tail cone (zone 4)
  • Tail rotor pylon (zone 5)
  • Main rotor pylon (zone 6)

Contact Cutting Dynamics for Maintenance Kits and Spare Parts for Sikorsky Helicopters

If you use HH-60Gs or any other Sikorsky helicopters and need replacement parts or maintenance kits, contact the team at Cutting Dynamics today. Our team is ready to answer any questions you may have.

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