“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)

Sikorsky MH-53M ‘Pave Low IV’ Helicopter

Sikorsky MH-53M 'Pave Low IV' Helicopter Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 6, 2012
1. Sikorsky MH-53M 'Pave Low IV' Helicopter Marker

The Sikorsky MH-53 is a variant of the USAF's HH-53 'Super Jolly Green Giant' air rescue helicopter, which was developed in turn from the US Navy's CH-53 'Sea Stallion' heavy lift helicopter. The MH-53 has been optimized for long-range infiltration, exfiltration and resupply of special operations forces in darkness or marginal weather flying conditions. The USAF began using early models of this helicopter for special operations missions in the late 1960s, and later versions continued to receive multiple improvements and upgrades thereafter.

In 1979-80, the Air Force modified nine MH-53Hs and 32 HH-53s to provide special operations units with the latest in avionics and sensor technologies under a program called Pave Low III. Those modifications included forward-looking infrared sensors, an inertial global positioning system, Doppler radar-navigation systems, terrain-following and terrain-avoidance radar, and integrated avionics to enable precise navigation to and from target areas. The USAF designated these modified helicopters as MH-53Js. In the late 1900s, 25 MH-53Js were fitted with new defensive avionics and other upgrades; these Pave Low IV aircraft became MH-53Ms.

The MH-53M on display (S/N 69-5785) is painted and marked as it appeared in 2008 when it was assigned to the 20th Special Operations Squadron,
Sikorsky MH-53M 'Pave Low IV' Helicopter and Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 6, 2012
2. Sikorsky MH-53M 'Pave Low IV' Helicopter and Marker
1st Special Operations Wing, headquartered at Hurlburt Field, Florida. Delivered to the USAF in 1970, #785 served with several combat air rescue units in Southeast Asia, where it successfully recovered at least three aircrew in 1971-1972. In April 1975, it evacuated U.S. personnel from Phnom Penh, Cambodia; one month later #785 was hit, but not repulsed by enemy ground fire while inserting US forces during the Mayaguez Rescue Incident. The aircraft participated in the restoration of Panamanian democracy (Operation Just Cause, 1989), and it flew special operations missions during the Persian Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm, 1991). More recently, #785 took US special forces personnel into harm's way in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom, and in the Iraq War from 2003 until its retirement from active service in late 2008-where this aircraft, flying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, led the final MH-53 combat mission before being flown here. Over the course of its venerable combat history these "steel horses" have proudly witnessed their crew members being awarded 13 Air Force Crosses and no less than 140 Silver Stars for heroic actions under fire during operations that stretch from Vietnam to Iraq.

Rotor Diameter: 72 ft.
Length: 88 ft.
Height: 25 ft.
Armament: 3x7.62mm mini-guns or 3x.50 cal. machine guns
Sikorsky MH-53M 'Pave Low IV' Helicopter image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 6, 2012
3. Sikorsky MH-53M 'Pave Low IV' Helicopter
2xT64-GE-100 gas turbines, each producing 4,330 shaft hp
Crew: 2 pilots, 2 flt engineers & 2 aerial gunners
Cost: $40 million (FY01-constant dollars)

Maximum Speed: 165 mph @ sea-level
Crusing [sic] Speed: 120 mph @ sea-level
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 46,000 lbs.
Range: 600 nautical miles (w/o aerial refueling)
Ceiling: 16,000 ft.

This aircraft is on loan from the National Museum of the United States Air Force
Erected by United States Air Force.
Location. 32° 22.893′ N, 86° 20.774′ W. Marker is in Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, in Montgomery County. Marker is on Twining Street north of Ash Street, on the left when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is in the Maxwell Air Park. Marker is in this post office area: Montgomery AL 36112, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. William R. Lawley, Jr. (within shouting distance of this marker); Major General James Harrison Wilson, USV (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Boeing B-52D "Stratofortress" (about 300 feet away); North American B-25 Mitchell (about 300 feet away); Air University / Maxwell Air Force Base (about 300 feet away); British and Commonwealth Pilots Trained in the U.S.A. (about 300 feet away); Former POWs And Those MIA (about 300 feet away); Montgomery Chapter of the American Ex-Prisoners of War (about 400 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Maxwell Air Force Base.
Also see . . .
1. MH-53M Pave Low IV. (Submitted on April 15, 2013, by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas.)
2. MH-53 Pave Low Helicopter Videos. (Submitted on April 15, 2013, by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas.)
Categories. Air & SpacePatriots & PatriotismWar, 1st Iraq & Desert StormWar, Vietnam
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas. This page has been viewed 723 times since then and 118 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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