Thursday, April 23, 2015

Air Force looking at using Ospreys for search and rescue

Air Force looking at using Ospreys for search and rescue: The Air Force is looking at big changes to its combat search and rescue fleet, possibly using the tilt rotor Osprey to carry pararescuemen in addition to its new combat rescue helicopter, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said Wednesday.

The service flies 67 aging HH-60G Pave Hawks to carry its Guardian Angel rescue airmen into combat to rescue troops. The service plans to replace the Pave Hawks with the recently named HH-60W next-generation Black Hawk, and it awarded a $1.2 billion contract for 112 helicopters to a joint Sikorsky and Lockheed-Martin team last year.

Welsh said the service has for the past six months studied ways to incorporate Air Force Special Operations Command's CV-22 Ospreys in combat search and rescue, noting that there are scenarios where the faster tilt rotors could be a better fit for rescues.

The service's current fleet of 33 Ospreys is used for long-range infiltration, exfiltration and resupply for special operations troops.