HULLAVINGTON AIRFIELD, England - The 56th Rescue Squadron provides rapid, deployable, worldwide combat search and rescue in support of humanitarian assistance, non-combatant evacuation and disaster relief capability for the U.S. European Command combatant commander and the Joint Chiefs of Staff in peacetime.
"Because of the nature of our primary mission, we train a lot and take everything very seriously," said Staff Sgt. Joseph Bland, 56th RQS special missions aviator.
The rescue unit's key tool to complete their mission is the HH-60G Pave Hawk.
An HH-60G Pave Hawk from the 56th Rescue Squadron prepares to land during exercise Voijek Valour at Salisbury Plain, England, March 4, 2016. The 56th RQS provides humanitarian assistance, non-combatant evacuation and disaster relief capability for the U.S. European Command combatant commander and the Joint Chiefs of Staff in peacetime. (U.S. Air Force photo by SSgt. Emerson Nu�ez)
“Search and rescue adopted the Black Hawk and threw everything on it that could make it the best search and rescue platform,” said 1st Lt. Andrej Pulver, 56th RQS co-pilot. “The Pave Hawk is a really capable aircraft, to begin with, and has been designed, from the ground up, to find someone who is in danger and save their life.”
Pave Hawk features for CSAR include an automatic flight control system, forward-looking infrared system, color weather radar and an engine/rotor blade anti-ice system that assists with finding and rescuing personnel anytime during the day or night.
Pave Hawks are also equipped with a retractable, in-flight refueling probe, as well as internal auxiliary fuel tanks, which enable the aircraft to fly longer distances. The two crew-served 7.62mm or .50-caliber machineguns provide defense for the aircraft, while the 8,000-pound capacity cargo hook can lift personnel into the aircraft.
The Pave Hawk has proven itself in CSAR missions since Operation Desert Storm and still remains the Air Force's CSAR platform.
"Its maneuverability is one of its best aspects," Bland said. "The best feature of the ‘60, which makes it as versatile as it is, is the fact that it has a refueling probe. We can extend our flight duty day all the way up to crew fatigue, if necessary, because of it."
With the variety of missions the HH-60G can support, there are also different variants of the aircraft serving in different branches of the military.
"It's as versatile as a C-130, but with a more exciting mission, because of its capabilities," Pulver said.
With more than 20 years of service, the Pave Hawk has been an essential tool for pararescue units worldwide. Today, the HH-60G continues the legacy of rescue operations for the Air Force.
More photos available below
By U.S. Air Force SSgt. Emerson Nu�ez
Provided through DVIDS
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