The SH-60B Seahawk naval helicopter is manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, Connecticut. The helicopter is a development of the UH60A Black Hawk US Army Helicopter. The export variant is designated the S-70B.
The Seahawk entered service in the US Navy in 1982. 230 Seahawk helicopters are in service with the USN, carrying the designations SH-60B, SH-60R, SH-60F and HH-60H. They are operational on US Navy Oliver Hazard Perry Class frigates, Arleigh Burke and Spruance Class destroyers and the Ticonderoga Class guided-missile cruisers.
SH-60B Seahawk anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopter
The SH-60B is used as a platform for the light airborne multi-purpose subsystem (LAMPS) Mark III mission system for anti-submarine (ASW) and anti-surface warfare (ASUW).
The Seahawk can travel up to 100nm from the host ship and remain on station for several hours. The helicopter carries out all-weather surveillance, search and rescue, missile targeting, anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare and strike-warfare.
The SH-60B family also includes the US Coastguard HH-60J Jayhawk.
S-70B Seahawk export variants
S-70B export versions of the Seahawk are operational with the navies of Australia (16), Greece (ten), Japan (70), Spain (12), Taiwan (20), Thailand (six) and Turkey (seven). The Spanish Navy has received six new SH-60B equipped with LAMPS mkIII and six helicopters already in service have been upgraded to LAMPS mkIII standard. The helicopters are deployed on Santa Maria and Alvaro de Bazan (F100) frigates.
BAE Systems was awarded a $187m contract by the Australian Navy to offer maintenance services to its S-70B fleet.
In January 2005, the Singapore Navy ordered six S-70B helicopters to operate from the new Formidable Class frigates. The first three of six helicopters were delivered in May 2009 and the remaining three were delivered in October 2010. In February 2013, Singapore ordered two additional S-70B helicopters, which are expected to be delivered in 2016.
In November 2006, the government of Turkey placed a $550m contract for the acquisition of 17 S-70B Seahawks. The deliveries were scheduled to begin in 2009 but began only in late 2010 due to production problems. Turkey will receive one additional helicopter from Sikorsky Aircraft due to the delay in deliveries.
The Brazilian Navy ordered four S-70B Seahawks in 2009 as part of a $163.8m contract. The first two helicopters were delivered in 2012. They are armed with Kongsberg Penguin anti-ship missiles. In June 2011, the Brazilian Navy ordered two additional aircraft.
Sikorsky was awarded an $86.83m modification contract to supply two additional S-70B helicopters to Brazil under Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme, in October 2013. The delivers are expected to be completed in June 2017.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) is building under licence a new variant, the SH-60K, for the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force. The JMSDF has ordered an initial seven SH-60ks,the first of which was delivered in August 2005. The SH-60K features a more powerful engine and upgraded avionics compared to the SH-60J in service with the JMSDF and also licence-built by Mitsubishi.
The Seahawk is flown by a crew of four: the pilot, co-pilot and the sensor and weapons systems operators. The cockpit and cabin are fitted with air conditioning, heating and ventilation.
The SH-60B helicopter features a spacious and comfortable cabin with increased leg space for passengers. The cabin can accommodate four flight crew – pilot, co-pilot, sensor operator and weapon system operator. The cabin is 3.2m long, 1.8m wide and 1.3m high. The cabin area and volume are 6m² and 8.5m³ respectively.
The Seahawk’s navigation suite includes the AN/APS-124 search radar supplied by Raytheon (formerly Texas Instruments), AN/ARN-118(V) Tacan supplied by Rockwell Collins, AN/APN-127 Doppler radar from Teledyne Ryan, AN/ARA-50 UHF direction finding system from Rockwell Collins and the AN/APR-194 (V) radar altimeter from Honeywell.
The helicopter is equipped with a Sikorsky sonobuoy launcher on the port side of the cabin, an ARR-84 receiver, an UYS-1 acoustic processing unit and an ARN-146 on top position indicator that indicates the position over a submerged submarine. The towed magnetic anomaly detector is the AN/ASQ-81 (V)2 supplied by Raytheon.
The helicopter carries two mk46 torpedoes or mk50 ALT advanced lightweight torpedoes from Honeywell.
The Seahawk’s anti-ship missile is the AGM-119B Penguin from Kongsberg of Norway. The helicopter also carries the Hellfire air-to-surface missile to engage fast attack craft and small, armed ships. Target acquisition is carried out using the AAS-44 thermal imaging unit with a laser designator.
The helicopter carries the ALQ-142 electronic support measures system. US Navy Seahawks have also been fitted with AN/ALQ-144 infrared jammers from BAE Systems Information & Electronic Warfare Systems (formerly Sanders), AN/ALE-47 chaff and flare dispensers from Lockheed Martin, AN/AAR-47 missile warners from ATK and the AN/AAS-38 forward-looking infrared from Lockheed Martin.
The Seahawk is equipped with two General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshaft engines developing 3,400shp. The helicopter’s internal fuel tanks hold 2,250l but an in-flight refuelling system can be used in hover mode.
A recovery assist, secure and traversing system reels in the helicopter and guides it to the deck.
A Fairey Hydraulics decklock landing system with an extending two-stage actuator has been used to land and secure the Seahawk to the deck in high sea states without the assistance of the deck crew.
The Seahawk is able to carry over 1,800kg of cargo internally. The external cargo hook, rated to carry loads up to 2,725kg, is not installed on all variants of Seahawk.
SH-60F CV Helo variant
The SH-60F CV Helo variant of the Seahawk is equipped to carry out the anti-submarine warfare role in the noisy inner zone of a carrier battle group. It is equipped with the AQS-13F active dipping sonar system, supplied by L-3 Communications – Ocean Systems, an ASN-150 cockpit management and tactical data processing system.
The SH-60F CV Helo does not carry the radar, electronic support measures, magnetic anomaly detectors or air-to-surface missiles which are necessary for open-water operations away from the carrier group. It carries three mk50 torpedoes.
HH-60 Rescue Hawk variant
The US Navy’s aircraft carrier-based strike rescue and special warfare helicopter is the HH-60H. It is not equipped for anti-surface ship or anti-submarine warfare. The HH-60H Seahawk can carry four crew plus eight troops. It is equipped with the ASN-150 cockpit management system and the ALQ-144 infrared jammer.
The weapons systems include GCAL-50 machine guns and Stinger, Maverick and Hellfire missiles. The cockpit is night vision goggle compatible.
The HH-60H has the capability to recover four crew of a downed aircraft at ranges up to 465km.The aircraft can also fly 370km and drop eight US Navy SEALs from an altitude of 915m.
The S-70B can climb at the rate of 213m a minute. Its cruise speed is 270km/h. The range and service ceiling of the helicopter are 592km and 3,616m respectively. It can fly to a maximum altitude of 5,790m and has an endurance of three hours. The helicopter weighs around 6,191kg and its maximum take-off weight is 9,926kg.