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he MH-53M Pave Low IV helicopters in Air Force Special Operations Squadrons are the same Super Jolly Green Giants first sent to Vietnam in 1967. The re-skinned, re-bladed and thoroughly refurbished aircraft have night/adverse weather capability, integrated aircraft survivability equipment, and digital connectivity.
The Air Force is acquiring 50 CV-22 Ospreys to replace its fleet of MH-53J Pave Low helicopters used to insert and extract special operations forces from hostile areas. The Osprey can cruise at 230 knots, and has a two times greater speed, range and payload than the MH-53J.
The MH-53 helicopter fleet is a Low Density/High Demand (LD/HD) asset used to deliver Special Forces into their objective areas. Current and projected worldwide tasks require increasing the fleet size. Air Force Special Operations Command has modernized 25 of the 38 Pave Low IIIEs to the MH-53M Pave Low IV configuration. As of January 2002 the Air Force inventory was 13 MH-53J and 25 MH-53M. HQ-USSOCOM and HQ AFSOC provided funding for conversion of two MH-53J model aircraft to the MH-53M. Warner Robins Air Logistics Center managed the conversions, to be completed by May 2002.