HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter Formally Named The Jolly Green II

The US Air Force has formally named the Sikorsky HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter the Jolly Green II. The naming was revealed at the Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium held at the Rosen Shingle Creek resort in Orlando. The naming event was hosted by the Secretary of the Air Force, Barbara M. Barrett.

Sikorsky video of the HH-60W Jolly Green II arriving at the Air Warfare Symposium

Barrett said during the event:

Reviving the Jolly Green name honors our combat search and rescue crews past and present. Those who operate this aircraft will embody the motto, ‘These Things We Do, That Others May Live’

In the hands of our airmen, this aircraft ensures the rescue community can perform their duties better than ever.”

Lockheed Martin, Sikorsky’s parent company, announced shortly after the naming that the US Air Force had awarded it a second Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) contract for a second batch of 12 Jolly Green IIs. The Air Force awarded the first LRIP contract for 10 Jolly Green IIs in September 2019, and major assembly of the helicopters of the first batch is currently underway.

From the Archives: A USAF HH-3E Jolly Green Giant helicopter picks up a pilot from the water while performing its mission as a search and rescue helicopter in Vietnam. The HH-3E is equipped with armor plating, external fuel tanks, and a powerful exterior winch for lifting downed Airmen out of areas where other aircraft cannot land. On rescue missions, it carries a crew of four: two pilots, a flight engineer, and a pararescueman. (Credit Photo to the National Museum of the USAF)

The Jolly Green II is named after the HH-3E “Jolly Green Giant” combat search and rescue (CSAR) helicopter, whose nickname arose from the green imprints left behind in the grass by its landing gear wheels after rescuing wounded servicemen from the battlefields of Vietnam. The HH-3E was later joined in the CSAR role by the HH-53C “Super Jolly Green Giant”, which took on longer ranged missions. The current USAF CSAR helicopter is the HH-60G Pave Hawk, which first entered service in 1987 as the Credible Hawk. The Pave Hawk has seen extensive service in the Middle East, running airframes past their service lives and requiring more maintenance as a result.

Promo video introducing the Jolly Green II from Lockheed Martin

Like the Pave Hawk, the Jolly Green II is an extensively modified derivative of the UH-60 Black Hawk. According to Sikorsky, the Jolly Green II has a new fuel system that allows for a doubled fuel capacity compared to a regular UH-60M Black Hawk. Sikorsky claims that the Jolly Green II is significantly more capable than the Pave Hawk, thanks to new defensive systems, improved adverse weather capabilities, network centric capabilities as well as improved reliability.

The Air Force’s new HH-60W combat rescue helicopter sits at its new home Nov. 6 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The aircraft was delivered to the 413th Flight Test Squadron located at Duke Field. The combat rescue helicopter was the first of two new test aircraft for the developmental test squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

The USAF program of record calls for 113 Jolly Green IIs to be built to replace the Pave Hawk fleet. Seven Jolly Green IIs have already taken flight, with two helicopters being flight tested by the Air Force.