Aviation Nation 2014: 66th Rescue Squadron

There could be no greater sight to a downed USAF pilot or wounded personnel than a Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk combat search and rescue helicopter (CSAR). When these appear they know the rescue pilots are there to get them home.

USAF Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk Aviation Nation 2014
Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk

HH-60 helicopters are equipped with Precision Avionics Vectoring Equipment (PAVE – which includes an advanced navigation system, a global positioning system and secure satellite communications) along with night vision gear (NVG), a forward looking infrared system (FLIR), automatic flight controls, weather avoidance radar,  engine/rotor blade anti-icing, a rescue hoist and a retractable inflight refueling probe. Defensive equipment includes a radar warning receiver (RWR), electronic/infrared/flare/chaff countermeasures and 2 x 7.62 mm miniguns or 2 x 0.50 caliber machineguns to lay down suppressing fire. All of these systems enables the HH-60 to operate day or night across long distances to locate their rescue target in a hostile combat environment and get out safely.

USAF Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk
Armed and dangerous yet a saviour

The 66th Rescue Squadron based at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada put on a demonstration of a rescue at Aviation Nation 2014. One armed HH-60 provided protective cover for any enemy forces that may appear whilst a second retrieved a wounded soldier from the battlefield.

Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk USAF Nellis AFB Aviation Nation 2014
Rescue target marked
Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk
USAF HH-60’s come to the rescue
USAF Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk combat search and rescue
One helicopter provides protective cover for the other
Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk Aviation Nation 2014
Approaching the rescue target under a watchful eye
Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk
On point
Aviation nation 2014 Nellis AFB Nevada Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk
A safe haven is near
Rescue Hoist Deployed Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk
Rescue hoist deployed
Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk combat rescue
Get them up and out
Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk combat rescue
A different view of the rescue
Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk combat rescue air nation 2014
Get out of there safe and sound

The 66th Rescue Squadron was reformed in 1991 (originally disbanded in 1958) to create a combat search and rescue function that was deployable around the world. Commencing in 2003 with deployment to Iraq the squadron has conducted rescue missions in both Iraq and Afghanistan. These rescue missions are dangerous work and the aircrews risk their lives to save that of others. To highlight their bravery, during operations in Afghanistan squadron members were awarded 2 Silver Stars, 5 Bronze Stars and 24 Distinguished Flying Crosses for bravery. Brave work indeed.

Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk
Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk
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