Testers from Nellis AFB, Nev., and Edwards AFB, Calif., teamed up earlier this month for HH-60G Pave Hawk door-gun live-fire testing at Edwards’ gun harmonizing range. “We needed to have a baseline for the GAU-18 dispersion, so we could prove whether the GAU-21 [machine gun] is an improvement or not,” test engineer 2nd Lt. Troy Mobley of Nellis’ 413th Flight Test Squadron Det. 1, said in a Feb. 26 release. “This is the first time in recent memory that we’ve done an HH-60 test” jointly between Edwards’ 412th Test Wing, and testers from Nellis, said 413th FLTS Test Director Maj. Maggie Sullivan. “I think there was a lot of education on both sides, but overall, it was a positive experience,” she added. Gun dispersion patter and barrel temperature data collected at Edwards will now be collated as a baseline for testing the GAU-21 .50 caliber weapon on the Pave Hawk later this year.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.