US Air Force deploys new HH-60W helicopter to Japan - M5 Dergi
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US Air Force deploys new HH-60W helicopter to Japan

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The U.S. Air Force has deployed its new US Air Force deploys its new HH-60W Sikorsky HH-60W Jolly Green II combat search and rescue (CSAR) helicopter to Japan.

The HH-60W Jolly Green IIs, belonging to the 55th Rescue Generation Squadron from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, have arrived at their new duty station, Kadena Air Base, Japan, on January 26, 2024.

The HH-60W, also known as the “Whiskey” model, serves as the successor to the HH-60G “Pave Hawk” and is built upon the established framework of the UH-60M “Black Hawk” production model. This advanced helicopter is purposefully designed with integrated mission systems to enhance situational awareness for aircrews engaged in combat search and rescue missions within contested environments.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Anthony Canlas, the dedicated crew chief of the HH-60, praised the new avionics systems and multifunctional displays, highlighting their ability to provide critical flight data to the pilots. These enhancements are expected to significantly improve the efficiency of search and rescue missions across the Pacific region.

The HH-60W has been tailored for a wide range of mission-critical operations, including the retrieval of isolated personnel from hostile or denied territories, regardless of day or night conditions and adverse weather. It is equipped to handle various threat environments, from terrorist threats to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear risks. Additionally, the helicopter’s capabilities extend to humanitarian missions, civil search and rescue, disaster relief, medical evacuation, and non-combatant evacuations.

Given the constant threat of water-related emergencies in Okinawa, the deployment of these new aircraft will bolster Kadena Airmen’s ability to save lives, both American and Okinawan. U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Bryan Donnelly, the production superintendent of the 33rd Helicopter Maintenance Unit, stated that these models represent the new standard for combat search and rescue operations in the Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) and nationwide. As a result, all HH-60G models will eventually be replaced at Kadena.

The name “Jolly Green II” was bestowed upon the HH-60W in a ceremony held in February 2020, paying tribute to the Jolly Green crews of previous generations who paved the way for the dedicated combat rescue crews serving today.

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