88th Test and Evaluation Squadron welcomes new HH-60Ws, kicks off IOT&E

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Lindsey Heflin
  • 53rd Wing
The last HH-60W Jolly Green II departed Duke Field, Fla. signaling the end of initial developmental test with the 413th Flight Test Squadron and the beginning of sustainment Operational Test led by the 88 TES at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., March 22, 2022.

The 88 TES has been engaged with the Air Force’s newest combat rescue helicopter since the inception of the program, supporting developmental testing and enabling early operational evaluations to take place while the HH-60Ws were stationed at Duke Field.

“The departure of the last HH-60W from Duke Field is a significant milestone for 413 FLTS and the entire Combat Rescue Helicopter program,” said Lt Col Andy Burns, 413 FLTS operations officer. “I am proud of the accomplishments and professionalism of the entire combined test team, and we couldn’t have accomplished any of it without our partners from ACC.  While it is bitter-sweet to see the helicopter depart, I am really excited to see the HH-60W program transition to the Combat Search and Rescue Combined Test Force for the next phase in its development.”

The first step for the 88 TES following the arrival of the HH-60W is to build proficiency in the airframe. By understanding the aircraft and its capabilities, the squadron will be able to develop tactics that take the most advantage of the aircraft’s capabilities.

“One of the most important new capabilities, and the thing that we will be developing the most Tactics, Techniques and Procedures towards, is the ability to integrate on a digital level in a way we previously have not,” said Lt Col Keith Craine, 88 TES commander. “It allows us to more effectively use the capabilities of other U.S. Air Force assets to collect information on isolated personnel and penetrate more heavily-defended areas.”

The first OT event that the HH-60W will participate in is Black Flag, where the aircraft will be evaluated on its ability to integrate with the Combat Air Force that it is tasked to support. The lessons learned and tactics developed in Black Flag will go a long way towards realizing the increased combat capability offered by the HH-60W.

The 88 TES mission is to provide battlefield-ready solutions to maximize Combat Search and Rescue capabilities for combatant commanders. They do this by developing tactics, techniques and procedures to most effectively employ the guardian angel weapons system, HH-60G, HH-60W and the isolated personnel who need recovering.
For more information, contact 1st Lt Lindsey Heflin, Public Affairs Advisor for the 53rd Wing at 850-598-3283 or lindsey.heflin.1@us.af.mil.
The 53rd Wing provides tactical advantage to the warfighter at the speed of relevance. By testing new operational capabilities and evaluating fielded capabilities, the 53rd Wing is bringing the future faster while answering the warfighter’s demands for integrated, multi-domain capabilities.