The US Air Force has begun testing the HH-60W Jolly Green II rescue helicopter for the US Special Operations Forces. As reported by NPlus1 with reference to Flightglobal, during the tests, three options for the helicopter's machine-gun equipment will be tested.
As the armament of the helicopter, options with the installation of a container with rapid-fire machine guns will be tested: GAU-2 / Minigun with a rotating block of 7,62 mm barrels, single-barreled GAU-18 of 12,7 caliber and GAU-21 of 12,7 mm caliber. The rate of fire of these machine guns is, respectively, 3000, 800 and 1100 rounds per minute. At the first stage of testing, the helicopter will be on the ground all the time. The completion of the tests is planned by the end of 2020, after which the HH-60W will be admitted to flight checks.
The new American HH-60W helicopter for rescue operations was developed to replace the obsolete HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters, which were put into service at the beginning of the 1980's. The purpose of such helicopters is rescue operations in the territory controlled by the enemy, as well as search and rescue operations, medical transportation and the fight against drug trafficking.
The new helicopter was developed since 2012, it received increased fuel tanks, updated on-board equipment and secure communication systems. The machine, developed on the basis of the multi-purpose UH-60M with an electro-remote control system, also received an expanded range of weapons.
The US Air Force plans to acquire 113 new helicopters, which will replace the HH-60G as they become available.
The Jolly Green II name was given to the HH-60W this spring. The vehicle was named after the HH-3E Jolly Green Giant rescue helicopter, which was actively used by the military during the Vietnam War.