The series was upgraded from the HH-53B/C, variants of the Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion. The HH-53 "Super Jolly Green Giant" was initially developed to replace the HH-3 "Jolly Green Giant"
The helicopters later transitioned to Special Operations missions. The U.S. Air Force's MH-53J/M fleet was retired in September 2008 and was replaced by the CV-22B Osprey
The US Air Force regarded their Sikorsky S-61R/HH-3E "Jolly Green Giant" long-range combat search and rescue (CSAR) helicopters favorably and was interested in the more capable S-65/CH-53A
The MH-53 Pave Low's last mission was on 27 September 2008, when the remaining six helicopters flew in support of special operations forces in Southwest Asia. These MH-53Ms were retired shortly thereafter
The helicopter has spindle-shaped jettisonable external tanks with a capacity of 650 US gallons (2,461 L), fitted to the sponsons and braced by struts attached to the fuselage
The HH-53B features A retractable in-flight refueling probe on the right side of the nose.