Developmental Testing

The Air Force’s new combat search and rescue helicopter, the HH-60W Jolly Green II, completed its developmental test program at Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), April 13.

HH-60W Jolly Green II
A 413th Flight Test Squadron HH-60W Jolly Green II hangs in the anechoic chamber at the Joint Preflight Integration of Munitions and Electronic Systems hangar, January 6, 2020, at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. The J-PRIMES anechoic chamber is a room designed to stop internal reflections of electromagnetic waves, as well as insulate from external sources of electromagnetic noise (U.S. Air Force photo by Samuel King Jr.)

The final test by the Sikorsky and Air Force team was on the aircraft’s weapon systems. The goal of the test was to both demonstrate the performance of the weapons while optimizing weapon-system configurations.

«The timely completion of this test program represents an amazing accomplishment by the HH-60W Jolly Green II Integrated Test Team», said Joe Whiteaker, the 413th Flight Test Squadron (FLTS) HH-60W Jolly Green II flight chief. «The team consistently overcame tremendous adversity through a mix of innovation and sheer determination».

The result of those labors ensured both the warfighter and the program’s decision-makers were well-informed on the HH-60W Jolly Green II’s performance.

The test efforts began May 2019 with the first HH-60W Jolly Green II flight. The aircraft arrived at Eglin AFB to the 413th FLTS November 2019, although various tests took place in other locations. The integrated test team accumulated more than 1,100 flight test hours across six aircraft testing the full spectrum of aircraft systems.

Some of the notable developmental tests included aircraft performance, communications systems, environmental tests at McKinley Climatic Lab, aerial refueling, data links, defensive systems, cabin systems, rescue hoist and live-fire of three weapon systems.

The test aircraft will be modified for operational use before being transferred to their respective Air Force rescue unit. The Jolly Green II’s developmental test mission will move to the Combat Search and Rescue Combined Test Force for follow-on testing at Nellis AFB, Nevada in 2022.

«I am incredibly proud of the many people from so many organizations who have come together to pull off a really challenging test program», said Lieutenant Colonel Wayne Dirkes, the 413 FLTS commander. «The team’s relentless focus on keeping the end in mind, aligning activity with their goals and moving forward quickly with discipline resulted in execution of a safe and highly successful test program in the face of incredible pressure».