The 55th Rescue Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., received their first HH-60W Jolly Green II helicopter, also known as the whiskey model, May 3, 2023.
“This HH-60W represents the first of many rescue helicopters at DM as we re-capitalize and sustain our future combat search and rescue capabilities and capacity,” said Lt. Col. Jaymes Hines, 55th Rescue Squadron commander.
With the first whiskey model acquisition, comes the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter’s, also known as the golf model, farewell. The golf model spurred the formation of the 55th RQS in 2003 and will be replaced with a whiskey fleet by 2024.
While the two air frames look very similar, the whiskey has a variety of external and internal upgrades that will accelerate the rescue mission at DM.
The key visible characteristic to differentiate between the air frames is the whiskey’s upward facing exhaust designed to reduce the helicopter’s infrared signature.
The whiskey cabin has been extended, allowing pararescuemen more space to perform lifesaving actions.
“The whiskey model is able to achieve a higher speed than the golf as well as having an upgraded weapons system,” said Tech. Sgt. Robert Matthews, 55th Rescue Generation Squadron flight line expediter. “All these upgrades will elevate our ability to rescue those in need.”
Upgraded avionics and other systems will provide aircrew with more accurate information at a faster pace, enabling them to execute the rescue mission more swiftly.
The new model furthers Airmen’s knowledge and cements them as the backbone for maintaining flying operations to accomplish the mission.
“The new generation of maintainers are arriving and are highly motivated to learn a new platform,” Matthews said. “The squadron is very excited about the whiskey models and are eager to begin working on them.”
The 55th RQS will continue to receive more whiskies as their golfs are retired throughout the next year.
“Securing the whiskies ensures the rescue mission continues at DM,” said Matthews. “We will continue to preserve the motto ‘that others may live’ for years to come.”