We know when the U.S. has a man down behind enemy lines, the Air Force Parajumpers go in for the rescue. Now, we take a look at how the PJs get there:
It's called the HH-60 Pave Hawk. And it's the Air Force's chopper-of-choice for missions ranging from retrieving downed pilots to picking up civilians caught in a disaster zone.
In essence, the Pave Hawk is a highly modified Blackhawk helicopter. Manufactured by Sikorsky, the juiced up Hawk can reach speeds in excess of 200 mph.
The HH-60's electronics are a substantial bump up from the typical UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter. The Air Force describes the HH-60's equipment as including:
"an upgraded communications and navigation suite that includes integrated inertial navigation/global positioning/Doppler navigation systems, satellite communications, secure voice, and Have Quick communications."
These hi-tech improvement, alongside the all-weather capability powered by its twin General Electric engines, make the HH-60 an ideal platform for combat search and rescue. In situations ranging from Operation Enduring Freedom to Hurricane Katrina relief, the Hawk has flown more rescue ops than almost any other aircraft in the Air Force.
But like its forefather the UH-60 Blackhawk, the HH-60 is outfitted to defend itself in low altitude areas. It can suppress ground-fire or support of a PJ team insertion once it has touched ground. The Hawk carries either two 7.62 mm miniguns, or dual .50 caliber machine guns.
Here is the doorgunner on an HH-60 letting off some rounds with the mini-gun:
The HH-60 has substantial combat upgrades which include a radar warning receiver, infrared jammer and a countermeasure dispensing system to release flares or chaff. This allows it to drop off or pick up its payload safely, and make it out of enemy territory even if there are anti-aircraft measures with which to contend.
Its extended fuel capacity and all-weather design allows the Hawk to give you a lift where others couldn't, which is critical for a SEAL looking for a ride home out of hostile territory, or a mountain climber stranded at 11,000 feet.
Watch this video to see the HH-60 in action, courtesy of The Daily:
Also, click here to see the military's A-10 Warthog aircraft, which The Blaze brought to you yesterday.