MH-60R/S: The USA’s New Naval Workhorse Helicopters
FY 2015 US Navy order breakdown; APKWS rocket integration & explanation; MH-60 upgrades; 200th MH-60R delivered.
Nov 17/14: FY 2015 USA. The US military buys 102 helicopters for the Army and Navy for $1.302 billion, as its FY 2015 purchases.
Part of it is a $535.3 million order under the MYP-8 multi-year program for 29 MH-60R and 8 MH-60S helicopters, plus associated sustaining engineering, program management, systems engineering, provisioning, technical publications, other integrated logistics support. There’s also advance procurement funding for program years 4 and 5. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2015 Navy aircraft budgets. Work will be performed at Stratford, CT (W58RGZ-12-C-0008, PO 0202).
Nov 13/14: MH-60R #200. Lockheed Martin delivers the 200th fully-equipped MH-60R “Romeo” helicopter to the US Navy, which includes a patch signing with Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron Seven-Two (HSM-72). Sikorsky makes the base helicopter, but Lockheed MArtin outfits them and delivers them. The firm adds:
“The cornerstone of the U.S. Navy’s anti-surface and anti-submarine operations, MH-60R helicopters have flown more than 250,000 hours in operation with the Fleet, providing increased surveillance and situational awareness.”
Sources: Lockheed Martin, “Lockheed Martin Delivers The 200th Romeo Helicopter To The U.S. Navy”.
Sept 30/14: Weapons. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training in Owego, NY receives $6.9 million for integration of APKWS Digital Rocket Launcher capabilities into MH-60R and MH-60S avionics software. $2.6 million in FY 2014 Navy RDT&E budgets is committed immediately.
APKWS is a semi-active laser-guided 70mm rocket that’s being integrated into the US Navy; it will give equipped MH-60S and MH-60R helicopters 7 guided weapons per hardpoint, instead of 4 Hellfires. The rockets don’t pack the same punch as a Hellfire against larger naval targets or main battle tanks, but against small boat swarms and most targets ashore, there are no degrees of dead.
Work will be performed in Owego, NY (95%), and Patuxent River, MD (5%), and is expected to be complete in July 2016. Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-14-G-0019, DO 4007).
Sept 2/14: Upgrades. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems & Training, Owego, NY, received $8.9 million for MH-60 Terrain Awareness Warning System (TAWS II) and Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast enhancements, including integration of the TAWS II software into the 2018 product line. These services are in support of the US Navy ($8.4 million / 95%) and the governments of Australia ($90,645 / 1%) and Denmark ($392,585 / 4%). $8.4 million is committed immediately,
Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and is expected to be complete in October 2017. Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-14-G-0019, DO 4001).
The US Army’s UH-60 Black Hawks have always had a naval counterpart. SH-60B/F Seahawk/ LAMPS helicopters were outfitted with maritime radar, sonobuoys, and other specialized equipment that let them perform a wide variety of roles, from supply and transport, to anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue, medical evacuation, and even surface attack with torpedoes or Kongsberg’s AGM-119 Penguin missiles. Like their land-based counterparts, however, the Seahawks are getting older. The Reagan defense build-up is receding into history, and its products are wearing out.
European countries chose to build new designs like the medium-heavy EH101 and the NH90 medium helicopter. They’re larger than the H-60s, make heavy use of corrosion-proof composites, and add new features like rear ramps. The USA, in contrast, decided to upgrade existing H-60 designs for the Army and Navy. Hence the MH-60R Multi-Mission Helicopter (aka. “Romeo”) and MH-60S (aka. “Sierra”) Seahawks. MH-60Rs and MH-60Ss will eventually replace all SH-60B/F & HH-60H Seahawks, HH-1N Hueys, UH-3H Sea Kings, and CH-46D Sea Knight helicopters currently in the US Navy’s inventory. Both programs are underway, and will be covered in this DID FOCUS Article.
The New Sikorsky Seahawks
Romeo, Armed: The MH-60R Multi-Mission Helicopter
Blue Collar Sierra: The MH-60S
The MH-60R/S Program
MH-60R/S Contracts and Key Events
FY 2005 and earlier
Additional Readings & Sources
Background: Ancillary Systems
News and Views
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