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USAF declares IOC for HH-60W CSAR helo

With 24 of 113 HH-60W helicopters delivered, the USAF has declared IOC for the type. (Lockheed Martin)

The US Air Force (USAF) has declared initial operating capability (IOC) for its HH-60W Jolly Green II combat search-and-rescue (CSAR) helicopter, the service announced on 12 October.

The declaration means that the Black Hawk-variant helicopter is able to forward deploy USAF rescue crews globally.

The USAF programme of record calls for 113 helicopters to replace the Sikorsky HH-60G Pave Hawk.

The new helicopter improves on its predecessor in that it hosts a new fuel system that nearly doubles the capacity of the internal tank, can carry more weapons, has more capable defensive systems, greater hover performance, more electrical and cooling capacity, improved avionics, and also features enhanced cyber-security, environmental, and net-centric capabilities.

With the first two HH-60W helicopters having been delivered to the 23rd Wing's 347th Rescue Group at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, on 5 November 2020, the USAF has to date received 24 helicopters from Sikorsky.

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