Tag Archives: CSAR

First aerial refueling

Approximately 3,000 feet/914 meters above Eglin Air Force Base, the HH-60W Jolly Green II connected with a HC-130J tanker for the inaugural aerial refueling by the Air Force’s newest combat search and rescue helicopter, August 5.

An HH-60W Jolly Green II connects with an HC-130J tanker for its first aerial refueling over southern Alabama, August 5, 2020. The Air Force’s newest combat search and rescue helicopter is currently undergoing developmental and operational testing (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sergeant Tristan McIntire)

The connection marked the start of two weeks of developmental testing of the aircraft’s aerial refueling abilities by 413th Flight Test Squadron (FLTS) testers and their mission partners.

«This capability is essential for the Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) mission since it greatly extends the operating range of the aircraft and thus allows the unit to extend their rescue capabilities over a larger battlespace», said Joe Whiteaker, 413th FLTS Combat Rescue Helicopter flight chief.

Throughout the tests, the aircrew and engineers will evaluate the helicopter’s ability to connect with the fuel drogue and its handling qualities during the fueling. They also monitor the functionality of the systems and gauges to ensure the aircraft receives the fuel appropriately with the proper pressures.

«Our job is to evaluate how difficult aerial refueling will be for operational pilots and to identify any unforeseen hazards due to the unique configuration of the HH-60W Jolly Green II, which may not have been present in the legacy HH-60G Pave Hawk», Whiteaker said.

Early missions will be during daylight hours. Testing will conclude with a nighttime evaluation using night vision goggles.

«This is a critical test milestone for the program as it reinforces the superior capabilities of the HH-60W Jolly Green II and its ability to support the Air Force’s CSAR mission», said Greg Hames, Sikorsky Combat Rescue Helicopter program director.

Major Andrew Fama, 413th FLTS pilot, was the Air Force pilot for the refueling mission. He evaluated the handling qualities and made the first contacts. He and the aircrew spent extra time preparing for the mission that included talking through the test sequence and rehearsing the phraseology used during the refueling. It was that extra time spent that made for a smooth mission without issues, according to Fama.

«It’s rare for a test pilot to have the opportunity to test a new aircraft replacing the one he or she flew operationally and to be the first one to do something like this», Fama said. «It was an honor to be the pilot to fly this mission and work with a truly professional test team».

The aerial refueling mission marks yet another 2020 milestone for the HH-60W Jolly Green II program. So far, the HH-60W Jolly Green II has undergone radar, weather and defensive system testing to name a few.

«The execution of this critical test is yet another demonstration of our successful partnership with the Air Force and brings us one step closer to delivering this much needed helicopter to our Airmen», Hames said.

Multirole Helicopter

Świdnik, 26 April, 2019 – Leonardo announced that it has signed a contract valued at approximately 380 million EUR (1.65 billion PLN) that will significantly enhance the Polish Navy’s helicopter capability. Through its fully owned Polish company and main industrial presence in the country, PZL-Świdnik, Leonardo will supply four AW101s and a comprehensive integrated logistics and training package to the Polish Ministry of National Defence (MoD).

Leonardo: 380 million EUR contract for maritime multirole helicopters with the Polish Ministry of National Defense
Leonardo: 380 million EUR contract for maritime multirole helicopters with the Polish Ministry of National Defense

PZL-Świdnik, acting as the prime contractor and responsible for the entire contract execution, was selected in a multi-stage process, meeting all the requirements of the Polish MoD, and will deliver and support the most capable maritime multirole helicopter available on the market today. The helicopter is already in service in some of the most important NATO nations among others. The Świdnik facility plays a significant role in the production of all the AW101s ordered worldwide.

With deliveries expected to be completed by 2022 the AW101 will perform a range of missions including Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR). This contract signing for the AW101s and the relevant support package follows the Offset Agreement, valued at approx. 400 million PLN (90 million EUR) recently announced.

The contract was signed today in the presence of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish Minister of National Defence Mariusz Błaszczak and Leonardo CEO Alessandro Profumo, during a ceremony at Leonardo’s facility in Świdnik.

Alessandro Profumo, Leonardo CEO, said, «We are proud that the Polish MoD has confirmed its trust in Leonardo as one of its key partners to collaborate on national defence, to support the modernization of the Armed Forces and boost technological and industrial growth. We are committed to further reinforcing our presence and contribution to Poland, one of Leonardo’s home countries where we see significant collaboration opportunities in the future».