The MH-53J Pave Low III heavy-lift helicopter is the largest, most powerful and technologically advanced transport helicopter in the US Air Force inventory.
Under the Pave Low III program, the Air Force modified nine MH-53Hs and 32 HH-53s for night and adverse weather operations. Modifications included forward-looking infrared, inertial navigation system, global positioning system, Doppler naigations systems, APQ-158 terrain-following and terrain-avoidance radar, an onboard-mission computer, enhanced navigation system and integrated avionics to enable precise navigation to and from target areas. The Air Force designated these modified versions as MH-53Js.
The MH-53J Pave Lows main mission is to drop off, supply and pick up special forces who are behind enemy lines. It also can engage in combat search and rescue missions. Low-level penetration is made possible by state-of-the-art terrain following radar, as well as infrared sensors that allow the helicopter to operate in bad weather.
The MH-53Js were used in variety of missions during Desert Storm.
Pave Lows were also used extensively during Operation Just Cause in Panama.
The MH-53M Pave Low IV is a MH-53J model that has been modified with the Interactive Defensive Avionics System/Multi-Mission Advanced Tactical terminal or IDAS/MATT.