Manufactured by Sikorsky, the MH-53 Pave Low and its variations are long-range combat support/ search and rescue helicopters designed for the US air force. Developed from the CH-53, the Pave Low could offer long-range, low level, undetected penetration, day or night, in any type of weather, for infiltration or exfiltration, resupply and Special Forces operations.
Claiming the title of most powerful and technologically advanced helicopter in the Air Force inventory, the Pave Low IV possessed terrain following and terrain avoidance radar, forward looking IR sensors, inertial navigation systems with GPS that had projected map display to allow the crew to see terrain contours and to help with obstacle avoidance as well as allowing it to operate in adverse weather conditions. It also possessed an Interactive Defensive Avionics System/ Multi-Mission Advanced Tactical Terminal or IDAS/MATT.
Its Primary mission was to supply, drop-off, and pickup Special Forces without detection without sacrificing the ability to engage in combat search and rescue missions when required. The total capacity was 38 troops as well as 20,000lbs slung with external cargo hook It often was equipped with any combination of three .50BMG M2 Browning and/or 7.62mm M134 Miniguns mounted on either side(behind the flight deck) and on the ramp.
The total service time for the MH-53 and variations was 48 years, it was retired in 2008 with the commission of the CV-22B Osprey.