Were Scheduled Do Deploy Aboard Littoral Combat Ships
The MH-60S Helicopters that the Navy had planned to deploy on its new littoral combat ships for mine sweeping operations are unable to tow the mine detection devices, according to an official Pentagon report.
The Pentagon's Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT and E) Office, Dr. J Michael Gilmore, wrote in the Secretary of Defense's Fiscal Year 2012 report "The Navy determined the MH-60S helicopter cannot safely tow the AN/AQS-20A Sonar Mine Detecting Set (AQS-20A) or the Organic Airborne Sweep and Influence System (OASIS) because the helicopter is underpowered for these operations. The MH-60S helicopter will no longer be assigned these missions operating from any ship, including LCS."
The report goes on to say "The MH-60S helicopter and AQS-20A sonar are not operationally effective or suitable because the helicopter is underpowered and cannot safely tow the sonar under the variety of conditions necessary. The Chief of Naval Operations recently concluded that the MH-60S helicopter is significantly underpowered for the safe performance of the AMCM tow mission and provides limited tactical utility relative to the risk to aircrew, and cancelled that MH-60S mission. The decision to cancel the AMCM tow mission affects employment of both the AQS-20A sonar and Organic Airborne and Surface Influence Sweep."
The report indicates that the analysis of test data collected during testing of MH-60S with MTS is still in progress. The scope of the testing was focused on previously identified MTS deficiencies. DOT&E expects to issue a formal test report in the second quarter of this fiscal year.