Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk
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“HH-60” redirects here. For the US Coast Guard HH-60J Jayhawk, see HH-60 Jayhawk.
HH-60 / MH-60 Pave Hawk
Role Combat Search and Rescue helicopter
Manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation
Status In service
Primary users United States Air Force
Republic of Korea Air Force
Developed from Sikorsky S-70
The Sikorsky MH-60G/HH-60G Pave Hawk is a twin turboshaft engine helicopter in service with the United States Air Force. It is a derivative of the UH-60 Black Hawk and incorporates the US Air Force PAVE electronic systems program. The HH-60/MH-60 is a member of the Sikorsky S-70 family.
The MH-60G Pave Hawk’s primary mission is insertion and recovery of special operations personnel, while the HH-60G Pave Hawk’s core mission is recovery of personnel under stressful conditions, including search and rescue. Both versions conduct day or night operations into hostile environments. Because of its versatility, the HH-60G may also perform peace-time operations. Such tasks include civil search and rescue, emergency aeromedical evacuation (MEDEVAC), disaster relief, international aid, counter-drug activities and NASA space shuttle support.
Design and development
In 1981, the U.S. Air Force chose the UH-60A Black Hawk to replace its HH-3E Jolly Green Giant helicopters. After acquiring some UH-60s, the Air Force began upgrading each with an air refueling probe and additional fuel tanks in the cabin. The machine guns were changed from 0.308 in (7.62 mm) M60s to 0.50 in (12.7 mm) XM218s. These helicopters were referred to as “Credible Hawks” and entered service in 1987.
Afterward, the Credible Hawks and new UH-60As were upgraded and designated MH-60G Pave Hawk. These upgrades were to be done in a two step process. But funding only allowed 16 Credible Hawks to receive the second step equipment. These helicopters were allocated to special operations use. The remaining 82 Credible Hawks received the first step upgrade equipment and were used for combat search and rescue. In 1991, these search and rescue Pave Hawks were redesignated HH-60G.
The Pave Hawk is a highly modified version of the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk. It features an upgraded communications and navigation suite that includes an integrated inertial navigation/global positioning/Doppler navigation systems, satellite communications, secure voice, and Have Quick communications. The term PAVE stands for Precision Avionics Vectoring Equipment.
All HH-60Gs have an automatic flight control system, night vision goggles lighting and forward looking infrared system that greatly enhances night low-level operations. Additionally, some Pave Hawks have color weather radar and an engine/rotor blade anti-ice system that gives the HH-60G an all-weather capability. Pave Hawk mission equipment includes a retractable in-flight refueling probe, internal auxiliary fuel tanks, two crew-served (or pilot-controlled) 7.62 mm miniguns or .50-caliber machine guns and an 8,000 pound (3,600 kg) 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 (270 kg) load from a hover height of 200 feet (60 m), and a personnel locating system. A number of Pave Hawks are equipped with an over-the-horizon tactical data receiver that is capable of receiving near real-time mission update information.
The U.S. Air Force HH-60G Pave Hawk is operated by the Air Combat Command (ACC), U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE), Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), Air Education and Training Command (AETC), the Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) and the Air National Guard (ANG) as of 2012. A number of HH-60Gs are also operated by the Air Force Material Command (AFMC) for flight test purposes.
During Operation Desert Storm, Pave Hawks provided combat search and rescue coverage for coalition Air Forces in western Iraq, Saudi Arabia, coastal Kuwait and the Persian Gulf. They also provided emergency evacuation coverage for U.S. Navy sea, air and land (SEAL) teams penetrating the Kuwaiti coast before the invasion.
All MH-60Gs were subsequently divested by Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) in 1991. At that time, most MH-60Gs were redesignated as HH-60Gs and transferred to Air Combat Command (ACC) and ACC-gained Air Force Reserve Command and Air National Guard units.
During Operation Allied Force, the Pave Hawk provided continuous combat search and rescue coverage for NATO air forces, and successfully recovered two U.S. Air Force pilots who were isolated behind enemy lines.
In March 2000, three Pave Hawks deployed to Hoedspruit Air Force Base in South Africa, to support international flood relief operations in Mozambique. The HH-60Gs flew 240 missions in 17 days and delivered more than 160 tons of humanitarian relief supplies.
Air Force Pave Hawks from the Pacific theater also took part in a massive humanitarian relief effort in early 2005 in Sri Lanka to help victims of the tsunami. In the fall of 2005, Pave Hawks from various Air Force commands participated in rescue operations of Hurricane Katrina survivors, rescuing thousands of stranded people.
Pave Hawks have regularly operated during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, and continue to be operated in Operation Enduring Freedom, supporting Army and Marine Corps ground combat operations and standby search and rescue support for U.S. and Coalition fixed-wing combat aircraft supporting those ground operations.
This section may be too long and excessively detailed.
Please consider summarizing the material while citing sources as needed. (April 2014)
The first attempt to replace the HH-60G Pave Hawk was in 1999 when the Air Force identified a need for a helicopter with improved range, speed, and cabin space. An options analysis was completed in 2002 and funding for 141 aircraft under the “personnel recovery vehicle” program began in 2004. In 2005, it was renamed CSAR-X, meaning combat search and rescue. Sikorsky entered the HH-92 Superhawk, Lockheed Martin entered the VH-71 Kestrel, and Boeing entered the HH-47 Chinook. The HH-47 won the competition in November 2006, but the award was cancelled after successful protests from both other competitors. A Request for Proposals (RFP) was reissued in 2007, but protested again before proposals were received, leading to the second cancellation of the CSAR-X program.
In March 2010, the U.S. Air Force announced a recapitalization plan to return its 99-aircraft inventory to 112 airframes by incremental replacement of aging HH-60Gs. A secondary plan to replace of 13 attrition HH-60s, seven of which have been lost in combat since 2001, has also begun implementation. The Air Force deferred secondary combat search and rescue requirements that called for a larger helicopter. A UH-60M-based version was being offered as a replacement.
On 22 October 2012, the Air Force issued an RFP for a Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH), seeking up to 112 aircraft to replace the HH-60G. The primary mission will be personnel recovery from hostile territory, and also execute humanitarian missions, civil search and rescue, disaster relief, casualty and medical evacuation. The helicopter must have a combat radius of 225 nmi (416 km), a payload of 1,500 lb (680 kg), and space for up to four stretchers. It is planned for four development aircraft to be delivered in 2016, with five more in an operational configuration in 2018. Low-rate initial production will add a further 18 helicopters, with the remaining 85 units to be procured during full-rate production. The AgustaWestland AW101 was one competition entrant. By December 2012, competitors AgustaWestland, EADS, Boeing, and Bell Helicopter had dropped out, claiming that the RFP favored the Black Hawk and did not reward their aircraft’s capabilities. The Air Force argued that the competition was not written to favor Sikorsky, and that the terms were clear as to the capabilities they wanted and could afford. The $6.8 billion contract was delayed to the first quarter of FY 2014 to complete an independent cost estimate and the impact of government furloughs. Sikorsky was the only bidder remaining, with Lockheed Martin as a subcontractor. Sikorsky and the Air Force conducted an extensive evaluation of their submission, the CRH-60, a variant of the MH-60 Black Hawk special operations helicopter.
The initial Air Force FY 2015 budget proposal unveiled in September 2013 cancelled the CRH program due to sequestration budget cuts, instead retaining the HH-60 fleet. The proposed CRH-60 differs from the MH-60 Black Hawk by having a greater payload capacity, wider rotor blades, better hovering ability, and 20 percent more cabin space. Lockheed will supply mission equipment and the electronic survivability suite. A spending bill unveiled in January 2014 allocated $333,558,000 to the CRH as a “congressional special interest item.” The bill read that there must be a replacement program, but it has to be affordable to avoid being cancelled. Congress stated it would attempt to add CRH funding if the Air Force could not. Over $300 million was allocated to the program in FY 2014, with $430 million to be moved from other areas through FY 2019 to finance it. Competitive pricing and congressional support will provide early funding, but the program may have to be reevaluated if additional defense cuts take effect in FY 2016. On 26 June 2014, the Air Force awarded Sikorsky and Lockheed a $1.3 billion contract for the first four aircraft, with 112 total to be procured for up to $7.9 billion. Five more are to be delivered by 2020, with the entire order to be completed by 2029.
HH-60A: Prototype for the HH-60D rescue helicopter. A modified UH-60A primarily designed for combat search and rescue. It is equipped with a rescue hoist with a 200 ft (60.96 m) cable that has a 600 lb (270 kg) lift capability, and a retractable in-flight refueling probe.
HH-60D Night Hawk: Prototype of combat rescue variant for the US Air Force.
HH-60E: Proposed search and rescue variant for the US Air Force.
HH-60G Pave Hawk: Search and rescue helicopter for the US Air Force. UH-60A Credible Hawk were updated to the HH-60G configuration as part of the first phase in a two-phase program.
MH-60G Pave Hawk: Special Operations, search and rescue model for the US Air Force. Equipped with long-range fuel tanks, air-to-air refueling capability, FLIR, improved radar. Powered by T-700-GE-700/701 engines.
HH-60H Rescue Hawk: Special Operations, search and rescue model for the US Navy. Equipped with long-range fuel tanks, FLIR, and 2 BRU auxiliary fuel/armament racks allowing the addition of external fuel tanks and the Hellfire guided weapons system.
Maplehawk: Proposed search and rescue version for the Canadian Forces to replace aging CH-113 Labradors. The CF opted for the CH-149 Cormorant instead.
HH-60M: a search and rescue version of UH-60M with a glass cockpit and more powerful engines.
HH-60P Pave Hawk: Combat Search and Rescue variant of UH-60P, in service with Republic of Korea Air Force. Confirmed equipment of External Tank System and FLIR for night operations.
HH-60W: combat rescue helicopter variant of the UH-60M for the U.S. Air Force, with a requirement for 112 helicopters.
United States Air Force
33d Rescue Squadron
41st Rescue Squadron
55th Rescue Squadron
56th Rescue Squadron
66th Rescue Squadron
101st Rescue Squadron
129th Rescue Squadron
210th Rescue Squadron
301st Rescue Squadron
305th Rescue Squadron
413th Flight Test Squadron
512th Rescue Squadron 
Crew: 4 (2 pilots, 2 special mission aviators/aerial gunners)
Capacity: max. crew 6, 8–12 troops, plus litters and/or other cargo
Length: 64 ft 10 in (17.1 m)
Rotor diameter: 53 ft 8 in (14.1 m)
Height: 16 ft 8 in (5.1 m)
Empty weight: 16,000 lb (7,260 kg)
Max. takeoff weight: 22,000 lb (9,900 kg)
Powerplant: 2 × two General Electric T700-GE-700/701C free-turbine turboshafts, 1,630 shp (1,220 kW) each
Maximum speed: 195 knots (224 mph, 360 km/h)
Cruise speed: 159 kt (184 mph, 294 km/h)
Range: 373 mi (internal fuel), or 508 mi (with external tanks) (600 km, or 818 km)
Service ceiling: 14,000 ft (4,267 m)
2 × 7.62 mm (0.308 in) miniguns or
2 × 0.50 in (12.7 mm) GAU-18/As
SATCOM satellite communications
LARS (Lightweight Airborne Recovery System) range/steering radio to compatible survivor radios
Automatic flight control
NVG night vision goggle lighting
FLIR forward looking infra-red radar
Color weather radar
Engine/rotor blade anti-ice system
Retractable In-flight refueling probe
Integral rescue hoist
RWR combat enhancement
IR infra-red jamming unit
flare/chaff countermeasure dispensing system