|The primary mission of the
HH-60G Pave Hawk
helicopter is to conduct day or night combat search and rescue, or
CSAR, operations into hostile environments to recover downed aircrew or
other isolated personnel during war. Because of its versatility, the
HH-60G is also tasked to perform military operations other than war.
These tasks include civil search and rescue, emergency aeromedical
evacuation, disaster relief, international aid, counterdrug activities
and NASA space shuttle support.
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
A limited 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 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
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,
than 4,300 Americans from the post-hurricane devastation.
In April 2006, the continental U.S. search and rescue mission was
transferred back to Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base,
From 2003 to 2006, the mission was under the Air Force Special
Operations Command at Hurlburt Field, Fla. Prior to this, the
were assigned to ACC.
Today, Pave Hawks continue to deploy in support of operations Enduring
Freedom and Iraqi Freedom in Afghanistan and Iraq. HH-60 crews have
logged hundreds of American, coalition, and foreign national saves
conducting CSAR and medical evacuations or MEDEVAC missions under low
visibility, low illumination conditions at all altitudes.