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SIKORSKY MH-53M PAVE LOW IV

Posted 10/24/2008 Printable Fact Sheet
 
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Sikorsky MH-53M
This aircraft, S/N 68-10369, was originally manufactured as an HH-53C by Sikorsky Aircraft in Bridgeport, Connecticutt, and gained by the Air Force on March 23, 1971. It was first assigned to the Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Center, Military Air Transport Service, at Eglin AFB, Florida. In May 1971 is was transfered to the 1550th Aircrew Training & Test Wing, Military Airlift Command, at Hill AFB. It moved to the 6594th Test Group, AF Systems Command, at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, in June 1974.
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Crew:  Six - 2 pilots, 2 flight engineers, and 2 aerial gunners
Armament:  Three 7.62 mm mini-guns or three .50 cal machine guns
Engines:  Two General Electric T64-GE-100 engines, 4,330 shaft hp ea
Rotor Diameter:  72 ft
Length:  88 ft
Height:  25 ft
Speed:  165 mph (at sea level)
Ceiling:  16,000 feet
Range:  690 miles

Air Force special operations forces used the Sikorsky MH-53M to covertly enter enemy territory. Capable of operating at day or night or in bad weather, these helicopters conducted long-range, low-level missions to insert, extract, and resupply special operations forces.

The MH-53 helicopters were originally HH-53 "Super Jolly Green Giants" used by the U.S. Air Force in the Southeast Asia War. Over the years, however, they received many upgrades and improvements. After the 1960s, they were completely re-skinned and had their engines and rotors replaced. Along with these improvements came a new designation, MH-53 ("M" for Multi-mission and "H" for helicopter).

The most significant enhancement to the Super Jollies was the Pave Low program, which modified them for operating at night or during bad weather. Equipped with forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensors, inertial global positioning systems (GPS), Doppler radar navigation systems, and terrain-following and terrain-avoidance radar, the MH-53 could fly clandestine, low-level missions in any weather, day or night.

The MH-53M Pave Low IV has a system that greatly increased the aircraft's capabilities. This system gave the aircrew instant access to the total battlefield situation on a color, digital map screen that was compatible with night vision goggles. Using feeds from satellite links, the system displayed nearly real-time information about potential hazards along the flight route such as power lines or enemy electronic threats.

This aircraft, S/N 68-10369, was originally manufactured as an HH-53C by Sikorsky Aircraft in Bridgeport, Connecticutt, and gained by the Air Force on March 23, 1971. It was first assigned to the Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Center, Military Air Transport Service, at Eglin AFB, Florida. In May 1971 is was transfered to the 1550th Aircrew Training & Test Wing, Military Airlift Command, at Hill AFB. It moved to the 6594th Test Group, AF Systems Command, at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, in June 1974.

In July 1986 the aircraft was moved back to the 1550th ATTW, then at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico. In June 1989 the aircraft went to the 1st Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Florida, where it was converted to MH-53J configuration. It was assigned to the 16th Special Operations Wing, AF Special Operation Command, at Hurlburt Field in 1994. While there it was upgraded as an MH-53M Pave Low IV. It's last flight was to Hill AFB on September 18, 2008.







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