An HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter lands as an Army UH-60 Blackhawk prepares to pick up a medivac patient June 13. The 33rd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron is the first squadron to have a combat-search-and-rescue mission and a medevac mission, and is based at Kandahar, Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brian Ferguson)
LUNGI, Sierra Leone -- An HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter prepares to land after training here. The helicopter is assigned to the 56th Rescue Squadron and is deployed with the 398th Air Expeditionary Group in Senegal. (U. S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Justin D. Pyle)
RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Senior Airman Ronald Arroyo awaits clearance to detach a 600-pound weight from the rescue cable of an HH-60 Pave Hawk after an operational test prior to its departure on a search and rescue mission over southern Texas Sept. 24. Airman Arroyo is a crew chief from the 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt Jack Braden.)
SAN FRANCISO -- California Air National Guard pararescuemen of the 129th Rescue Wing, Moffett Federal Airfield, Calif., climb up a moving rope ladder, from the chilly waters outside the Golden Gate Bridge, up to a HH-60G Pave Hawk. Tech. Sgt. Mike Sampognaro, flight engineer, monitors the training mission from the troop door. Hovering only six feet above the waves, Lt. Col. Thomas Laut must fly with extreme care as he deals with gusting winds, sea spray, sun glare, and sea swells, as he maintains a "low-and-slow" flight. Some members of the 129th provided technical assistance for the production of the movie "The Perfect Storm." (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Lance Cheung)
BASA AIR BASE, Philippines -- An HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter from the 33rd Rescue Squadron, Kadena Air Base, Japan, lands here to evacuate "injured" personnel from a cargo aircraft "accident" during a joint US/Philippine mass casualty exercise during Balikatan 2001. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Val Gempis)
Mission The primary mission of the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter is to conduct day or night personnel recovery operations into hostile environments to recover isolated personnel during war. The HH-60G is also tasked to perform military operations other than war, including civil search and rescue, medical evacuation, disaster response, humanitarian assistance, security cooperation/aviation advisory, NASA space flight support, and rescue command and control.
The Pave Hawk is a highly modified version of the Army Black Hawk helicopter which features an upgraded communications and navigation suite that includes integrated inertial navigation/global positioning/Doppler navigation systems, satellite communications, secure voice, and Have Quick communications.
All HH-60Gs have an automatic flight control system, night vision goggles with lighting and forward looking infrared system that greatly enhances night low-level operations. Additionally, Pave Hawks have color weather radar and an engine/rotor blade anti-ice system that gives the HH-60G an adverse weather capability.
Pave Hawk mission equipment includes a retractable in-flight refueling probe, internal auxiliary fuel tanks, two crew-served 7.62mm or .50 caliber machineguns, and an 8,000-pound (3,600 kilograms) capacity cargo hook. To improve air transportability and shipboard operations, all HH-60Gs have folding rotor blades.
Pave Hawk combat enhancements include a radar warning receiver, infrared jammer and a flare/chaff countermeasure dispensing system.
HH-60G rescue equipment includes a hoist capable of lifting a 600-pound load (270 kilograms) from a hover height of 200 feet (60.7 meters), and a personnel locating system that is compatible with the PRC-112 survival radio and provides range and bearing information to a survivor's location.
Pave Hawks are equipped with an over-the-horizon tactical data receiver that is capable of receiving near real-time mission update information.
Background The Pave Hawk is a twin-engine medium-lift helicopter operated by Air Combat Command, Pacific Air Forces, Air Education and Training Command, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command.
Pave Hawks have a long history of use in contingencies, starting in Operation Just Cause. During Operation Desert Storm they provided combat search and rescue coverage for coalition forces in western Iraq, coastal Kuwait, the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia. They also provided emergency evacuation coverage for U.S. Navy SEAL teams penetrating the Kuwaiti coast before the invasion.
During Operation Allied Force, Pave Hawks provided continuous combat search and rescue coverage for NATO air forces, and successfully recovered two Air Force pilots who were isolated behind enemy lines.
In the aircraft's humanitarian relief missions, three Pave Hawks deployed in March 2000 to Mozambique, Africa, to support international flood relief operations. The HH-60s flew 240 missions in 17 days and delivered more than 160 tons of humanitarian relief supplies.
After Hurricane Katrina in September 2005, more than 20 active-duty, Reserve, and National Guard Pave Hawks were deployed to Jackson, Miss., in support of recovery operations in New Orleans and surrounding areas. Pave Hawk crews flew 24-hour operations for nearly a month, saving more than 4,300 Americans from the post-hurricane devastation.
Within 24 hours of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, HH-60Gs deployed to support Operation Tomodachi providing search and rescue capability to the disaster relieve
Today, Pave Hawks continue to deploy in support of operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. HH-60 crews have aided hundreds of American, coalition, and foreign-national personnel by conducting personnel recovery and medical evacuations or MEDEVAC missions under low visibility, low illumination conditions at all altitudes.
Primary Function: Personnel recovery in hostile conditions and military operations other than war in day, night or marginal weather Contractor: United Technologies/Sikorsky Aircraft Company Power Plant: Two General Electric T700-GE-700 or T700-GE-701C engines Thrust: 1,560-1,940 shaft horsepower, each engine Rotor Diameter: 53 feet, 7 inches (14.1 meters) Length: 64 feet, 8 inches (17.1 meters) Height: 16 feet, 8 inches (4.4 meters) Weight: 22,000 pounds (9,900 kilograms) Maximum Takeoff Weight: 22,000 pounds (9,900 kilograms) Fuel Capacity: 4,500 pounds (2,041 kilograms) Payload: depends upon mission Speed: 184 mph (159 knots) Range: 504 nautical miles Ceiling: 14,000 feet (4,267 meters) Armament: Two 7.62mm or .50 caliber machineguns Crew: Two pilots, one flight engineer and one gunner Unit Cost: $40.1 million (FY11 Dollars) Initial operating capability: 1982 Inventory: Active force, 67; ANG, 17; Reserve, 15