Jolly Green Giant

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The U.S. Air Force developed the Sikorsky HH-3E helicopter to perform combat search and rescue (CSAR) to recover downed Airmen during the Southeast Asia War. Known as the “Jolly Green Giant“, the HH-3E featured protective armor, self-sealing tanks, a retractable inflight refueling probe, jettisonable external tanks, a high-speed hoist, and other specialized equipment.

A highly modified version of Sikorsky’s CH-3 transport helicopter, the HH-3E carried both armor plating and armament to protect it from hostile forces during rescues of aircrews in a combat area.With a watertight hull, the HH-3E could land on water, and its large rear door and ramp permitted easy loading and unloading.

The first air-refuelable helicopter to be produced, the HH-3E‘s retractable fuel probe and external fuel tanks gave it a range limited only by the endurance of the aircrew. In fact, in 1967, two aerial refueled HH-3Es set the long-distance record for helicopters by flying non-stop from New York to Paris, France. This long-range capability allowed HH-3Es to conduct CSAR operations anywhere in the Southeast Asia theater of operations, and they participated in the attempt to rescue American prisoners of war from the Son Tay prison camp in 1970.

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Source: U.S. Air Force, Aero-Web