HH-60G Pave Hawk Combat SAR Helicopter Fitted With Four M240 Machine Guns

HH-60G Pave Hawk Combat SAR Helicopter Fitted With Four M240 Machine Guns

The capability of Combat SAR helicopters (Combat SAR) is important in every military operation. In addition to the basics to carry out search and rescue of victims in conflict areas, helicopters with the Combat SAR label must be equipped with adequate weaponry to survive threats on the surface. 

For example, the Indonesian Air Force, which is now operating the H225M Caracal SAR Combat helicopter with the FN MAG 58M window gun caliber 7.62 mm.

However, the dynamics of operations demand adjustments to the weapons provisions of Combat SAR helicopters. Without compromising its basicity for rescue operations, the US Air Force (USAF) made a breakthrough by modifying and adding weapons to the HH-60G Pave Hawk Combat SAR helicopter.

Quoted from the Air Force – af.mil (28/11/2022), The 943rd Rescue Group based at Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, is making efforts to increase firepower in Combat SAR operations. Concretely, there are four M240 medium machine guns of 7.62 mm caliber mounted on the HH-60G Pave Hawk.

Most weapon configurations on the HH-60 consisted of two guns in combination, either the 7.62 mm GAU-2C Minigun, the 12.7 mm GAU 18/A (M2HB variant) heavy machine gun, or the M240 machine gun (FN variant). GPMG) caliber 7.62 mm.

While the Team from the 943rd Rescue Group has the goal of adding four additional weapons to the helicopter and then testing whether the two platforms are successful or not.

And finally, it was found that the use of a heavy machine gun (12.7 mm) could not function optimally, because the floor design of the HH-60G did not support the torque applied by the GAU 18/A type of weapon. Plus, apparently the minigun on the helicopter doesn't work either because of the power required to operate the weapon.

“The M240, which is also familiar to infantry troops, is a multi-purpose weapon that allows us to carry out search and rescue battles in contested areas, logistics under attack, and agile combat work. It will enhance both offensive and defensive capabilities at a very low cost,” said Colonel Jes Hamilton, commander of the 943rd Rescue Group.

Minister of Defense Ryamizard Ryacudu during the handover ceremony (25/11), posing with the window gun FN MAG 7.62 mm.
This concept required the integration or redesign of three separate sections to accommodate two M240s in each door opening.

In a rescue scenario, one HH-60 will integrate with a Combat SAR task force and provide a self-guided escort capability. If the helicopter is required for rescue, non-combatant evacuation operations, or embassy evacuations; weapons can be removed in seconds, and the helicopter can instantly become a full SAR helicopter platform.

The M240 uses a long piston gas system with a gas regulator located under the barrel. The M240 can fire its 650–1,000 projectiles per minute. The rate of fire of the rifle is selectable between “low/low” (~ 650 rpm) and “high/high” (~ 950 rpm), depending on the tactical situation, and the rifle fires in full auto mode.

The M240 projectile has a launch velocity of up to 840 meters per second. With adjustments to the shot, type of ammunition, use of a tripod and environmental conditions, the maximum range of this weapon can reach 1,800 meters.

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