MH-60R Seahawk Multimission Naval Helicopter, United States of America
The Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk multimission helicopter replaces SH-60B and SH-60F helicopters in the US Navy's fleet and combines the capabilities of these aircraft. MH-60R is also referred to as 'Romeo'.
The helicopter is equipped for a range of missions, including: anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW), search and rescue (SAR), naval gunfire support (NGFS), surveillance, communications relay, logistics support and personnel transfer and vertical replenishment (VERTREP). For vertical replenishment missions, the helicopter is fitted with a 2,721.55kg (6,000lb) cargo hook. Lockheed Martin, Owego, is the mission systems integrator.
MH-60R Seahawk helicopter development
The maiden flight of the MH-60R took place in July 2001. The first low-rate initial production (LRIP) helicopters were remanufactured SH-60Bs but the following MH-60Rs are all new-builds.
The first new production MH-60R helicopter was delivered in August 2005. Operational evaluation (OPEVAL) was completed in October 2005 and full-rate production approved in April 2006.
Production levels are due to increase to up to 30 helicopters a month. The US Navy expects to operate 252 MH-60R helicopters by 2015.
In October 2007, the US Navy established the first of five MH-60R squadrons, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71 at Naval Air Station (NAS) North Island, San Diego.
In March 2008, the MH-60R conducted first 'at sea' operations from the USS Preble (DDG-88) Aegis destroyer. First operational deployment of the helicopter was completed in early 2009 with the USS Stennis carrier group.
The helicopter operates from frigates, destroyers, cruisers, amphibious ships and aircraft carriers and is suitable for intense littoral warfare operations for handling numerous contacts in confined spaces, and for open-water operations.
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MH-60 cockpit details
The MH-60 helicopter is fitted with dual controls and accommodates the pilot and co-pilot / tactical mission officer. The sensor operator station is installed in the cabin.
The MH-60R helicopter shares the same MH-60 multifunction digital glass cockpit as the MH-60S helicopter. The MH-60 common cockpit has been designed and supplied by the Owego Helo Systems division of Lockheed Martin Systems Integration at Owego New York.
The fully integrated glass cockpit is equipped with four 8in × 10in (20.3cm × 25.4cm) full-colour multifunction mission and flight displays that are night-vision goggle compatible and sunlight readable. The pilots and aircrew have common programmable keysets, a mass memory unit, mission and flight management computers and MH-60R dedicated operational software.
The navigation suite includes a Northrop Grumman (Litton) LN-100G dual embedded global positioning system and inertial navigation system. Telephonics Corp. supplies the communication management system.
The helicopter is equipped with a fully digital communications suite, with Link 16, ARC-210 radios for voice, UHF / VHF and satellite communications and a Harris Hawklink Ku-band datalink.
MH-60R cabin and weapons capabilities
The helicopter features a spacious and comfortable cabin with increased leg space for passengers. The cabin can accommodate three or four flight crew and five passengers. The length of the cabin is 3.2m. It is 1.3m high, while its width is 1.8m. The cabin area and volume of the MH-60R are 6m² and 8.5m³ respectively.
For anti-surface warfare missions, the helicopter can be equipped with a range of weapons on the four weapons stations, including Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire anti-surface missiles.
For anti-submarine warfare, the MH-60R can carry up to three ATK mk50 or mk46 active / passive lightweight torpedoes. For self-defence, a pintle-mounted 7.62mm machine gun can be fitted.
Countermeasures and sensors technology
The helicopter is fitted with a Lockheed Martin AN/ALQ-210 electronic support measures system (ESM). Electronic warfare systems include the ATK AN/AAR-47 missile warner, laser warning system, BAE Systems AN/ALQ-144 infrared jammer and AN/ALE-39 chaff and flare decoy dispenser.
For anti-submarine warfare missions the helicopter is equipped with a sonobuoy launcher and a Raytheon AN/AQS-22 advanced airborne low-frequency (ALFS) dipping sonar.
The MH-60R is fitted with the Raytheon AN/AAS-44 detecting / tracking system, which includes forward-looking infrared (FLIR) and laser rangefinder.
The helicopter's radar is the Telephonics AN/APS-147 multimode radar, which has inverse synthetic aperture (ISAR) imaging and periscope and small target detection capabilities. Lockheed Martin was awarded a contract in July 2008 to develop a new radar system, AN/APS-153 radar, with the automatic radar periscope detection and discrimination (ARPDD) capability.
Survivability of the Seahawk multimission helicopter
The MH-60R is constructed with tolerance to small arms fire and medium calibre high-explosive projectiles. The flight controls have dual redundancy and ballistically hardened flight controls. The fuel tank is self-sealing. The helicopter is fitted with energy-absorbing landing gear and load-limiting crew seats.
The upper controls and hub are ballistically tolerant and the rotor blades are tolerant against 23mm rounds. The tail rotor has redundant failsafe controls. In the event of a 20/20/10G impact crash, the helicopter's high mass components are retained within the frame.
The modular transmission system is fitted with fail safe lubrication. The hydraulics and electrical systems are triple redundant.
Turboshaft engines and performance
The helicopter is powered by two General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshaft engines rated at 1,425kW. The internal self-sealing fuel tanks have a capacity of 2,230l.
The MH-60R can climb at a rate of 8.38m/s. The maximum and cruise speed of the helicopter are 267km/h and 168km/h respectively. Its range is 834km. The service ceiling of the MH-60R is 3,438m. The helicopter weighs around 6,895kg and its maximum take-off weight is 10,659kg.
Order and deliveries of Sikorsky's naval helicopter
In June 2011, the Royal Australian Navy placed an order for 24 MH-60R (Romeo) anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare helicopters, to replace its 16 S-70B-2 naval helicopters under the US FMS programme. The delivery of the first two MH-60R helicopters is expected in 2014 and remaining helicopters will be delivered by mid-2016.
In September 2011, the government of Qatar requested the sale of six MH-60R Seahawk helicopters, 13 T-700 GE 401C engines, support equipment and logistics support services.
In June 2012, the Republic of Korea requested the sale of eight MH-60R Seahawk helicopters, 18 T-700 GE 401C engines, support equipments and logistics support services.
In December 2012, the Danish Government ordered nine MH-60R Seahawk helicopters and comprehensive logistics support for its Maritime Helicopter Replacement Programme. The estimated value of the contract is $686m. The deliveries will conclude by 2018.
In January 2013, Lockheed Martin delivered its 150th MH-60R Seahawk helicopter to a naval squadron in San Diego.
The multimission Sikorsky MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter entered service in February 2002.
The Sikorsky CH-53 Super Stallion heavy-lift helicopter first flew in 1974 and entered service with the US Marine Corps (USMC) in 1981.