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HH-60 Pave Hawk

The primary mission of the Sikorsky[?] HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter is to conduct day or night 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 (MEDEVAC), disaster relief, international aid, counterdrug activities and NASA space shuttle support.


United States Air Force HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter.
Larger version

The Pave Hawk is a highly modified version of the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter which 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.

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, 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 7.62mm machine guns 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) load from a hover height of 200 feet (60.7 meters), and a personnel locating system that is compatible with the PRO-112 survival radio and provides range and bearing information to a survivor's location.

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, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command.

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 US Navy sea, air and land (SEAL) teams penetrating the Kuwaiti coast before the invasion.

During Operation Allied Force[?], the Pave Hawk provided continuous combat search and rescue coverage for NATO air forces, and successfully recovered two US Air Force pilots who were isolated behind enemy lines.

In March 2000, three Pave Hawks deployed 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.

General characteristics

  • Primary Function: combat search and rescue and military operations other than war in day, night or marginal weather conditions.
  • Builder: United Technologies[?]/Sikorsky Aircraft Company[?]
  • Power Plant: Two General Electric T700-GE-700 or T700-GE-701C engines
  • Thrust: 1,560-1,630 shaft horsepower, each engine
  • Length: 64 feet, 8 inches (17.1 meters)
  • Height: 16 feet, 8 inches (4.4 meters)
  • Rotary Diameter: 53 feet, 7 inches (14.1 meters)
  • Speed: 184 mph (294.4 kph)
  • Maximum Takeoff Weight: 22,000 pounds (9,900 kilograms)
  • Range: 504 statute miles; 445 nautical miles (unlimited with air refueling)
  • Armament: Two 7.62mm machineguns
  • Unit Cost: US$15.8 million (fiscal 98 constant dollars)
  • Crew: Two pilots, one flight engineer and one gunner
  • Date Deployed: 1982



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