When it came onto the scene back in the 1970s, the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk took the legacy of the Vietnam era Bell UH-1 Iroquois, the famed Huey, to whole new levels of awesome.
Because of its versatility, the helicopter was cloned into countless variants, and made in over 4,000 units to serve the needs of over 30 countries around the world. Most of those versions are however getting old, and replacements are on the way.
Such is the case with the Pave Hawk, a U.S. Air Force (USAF) machine designed to operate behind enemy lines for insertion and recovery of military personnel and equipment. Almost four decades old, it’s getting ready to exit the scene and allow the also Black Hawk-based Jolly Green II (HH-60W) to come under the spotlight.
The replacing of the fleet will take a while, but thanks to a photo recently released by the USAF, we get to see the first glimpse of how eh Pave's retirement will be like.
We’re looking at a Pave Hawk assigned to the 56th Rescue Squadron, as it waits patiently and proudly on the runway of an airport all the way over in Croatia to be refueled. The image was captured just before the helicopter conducted its final flight at the end of September.
Now that it is retired, the machine will be stripped of components that are needed elsewhere, and take its rightful place on a display in front of the 56th Operations Rescue Squadron, over at NATO’s Aviano Air Base in Italy.