The MH-53M is the last version of the H-53 Super Jolly Green Giant that was developed during the Vietnam War. The H-53 was designed by Sikorsky to meet an Air Force requirement for a long-range Combat Search and Rescue helicopter to supplement the HH-3 Jolly Green Giant. Based on the CH-53A Sea Stallion, the HH-53B entered service in 1967, quickly followed by the HH-53C. The Air Force was very happy with the performance of the helicopter, both in the search and rescue role and as a transport for Special Forces troops. The only drawback of the helicopter was a lack of all-weather and night capability. To address this, the HH-53s were modified with night vision equipment and other sensors under a program called “Pave Low.” The upgraded helicopters were redesignated as MH-53H. The final upgrade came with the MH-53M Pave Low IV which gave the helicopters even more capabilities, with onboard mission planning computers and satellite communications allowing planning of routes and missions while airborne.
United States Air Force, 20th Special Operations Squadron, 352nd Special Operations Group, Hurlburt Field, Florida, 2008
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