The US Navy MH-60S fleet combat
support helicopter passed a significant milestone recently by
eclipsing the 50,000 flight hour mark. "The significance of this
event is particularly noteworthy because the program went from the
drawing board to fleet introduction in just a few years," said Paul
Martin, Sikorsky's Senior Vice President for Government and
Advanced Development Programs. "The aircraft was initially fielded
simultaneously in three separate locations and has exhibited
exemplary readiness and safety records."
MH-60S fleet combat support helicopters are serving the U.S.
Navy around the world. Many of the aircraft supported Operation
Iraqi Freedom. In addition, MH-60S crews have won numerous Sikorsky
Winged-S Rescue Awards, continuing a tradition dating from
The MH-60S will provide flexibility
for reconfiguration, serving in combat search and rescue as well as
providing Naval Special Warfare support to joint theater
operations. The helicopter will anchor the fleet logistics role in
carrier strike group and amphibious ready group operations.
Along with its counterpart, the Sikorsky MH-60R, the MH-60S will
form the basis for the Navy's Helicopter Concept of Operations
(CONOPS) and will replace all other existing Navy helicopters by
2010. Together, the aircraft will provide a full array of maritime
helicopter capabilities, including anti-submarine warfare (ASW),
anti-surface ship warfare (ASuW), medevac, logistics, Combat Search
And Rescue, and Airborne Mine Countermeasures (AMCM).
The MH-60S is a baseline BLACK HAWK configuration with SEAHAWK
engines, rotor system and dynamic components, including the
SEAHAWK's automatic rotor blade folding system, folding tail pylon,
improved durability gearbox, rotor brake and automatic flight
control computer. This aircraft is the latest in the H-60 family of
aircraft whose ruggedness, survivability and versatility have made
the H-60 the world's standard utility helicopter.
In September 2002, the U.S. Navy granted the MH-60S helicopter
program a Milestone III Full Rate Production Decision authorizing
the Navy's purchase of up to 271 MH-60S aircraft. The Navy has
already ordered 119 aircraft and 64 helicopters have been delivered
as of April 2004.
The MH-60S is currently flying with ship-based detachments from
five Navy squadrons located in Guam, San Diego, and Norfolk,
Sikorsky designs and manufactures the MH-60S and MH-60R aircraft
and is responsible for the mechanical and electrical modifications
to the airframe. Lockheed Martin is the systems integrator for the
MH-60R and provides the cockpit, which is common to all MH-60S and