The US Air Force’s (USAF) new combat search and rescue helicopter, the HH-60W Jolly Green II, has undertaken a joint mission with the army’s multi-role combat helicopter, the AH-64 Apache.

The two aircraft, which flew together for the first time, landed at the Duke Field runway in Eglin Air Force Base (AFB).

The AH-64 Apache from Redstone Army Test Center in Alabama, US, flew in for system testing with HH-60W Jolly Green II.

USAF 413th FLTS HH-60W lead test engineer Christopher Martin said: “The unique configuration of the AH-64 Apache gave our team the opportunity to test capabilities of the HH-60W in ways normally not possible here.

“Tests like these will ensure the Jolly Green II will be able to perform its critical combat search and rescue mission when fielded in the joint warfighting environment.”

The joint tests mission marks another milestone in Jolly Green II’s development.

Earlier this year, the Jolly Green helicopter conducted extreme environment, communications and defence system testing.

Led by 413th FLTS, other participants in the HH-60W integrated test team include Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, 88th Test and Evaluation Squadron, Detachment 2 and Air Force Operational Test Center.

HH-60W test programme manager Shawn Hammond said: “We are very proud of the work our integrated test team accomplished in 2020 despite a myriad of operational restrictions due to Covid-19.

“The team’s success is due to a mission-focused mindset to ensure the crews flying the Jolly Green II into combat have the most reliable and capable helicopter for the job.”

In February this year, the USAF revealed the name of its latest HH-60W combat rescue helicopter at the 2020 Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida, US.

Known as Jolly Green II, the helicopter’s name honours the crews who pioneered the practice of aerial search and rescue missions.