Upgrades expand capabilities of Coast Guard’s H- 60 helicopter
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
MH-60T Assumes the Alert
The Airborne Use-of-Force (AUF)
program, designed to give the Coast
Guard’s entire helicopter fleet armament for counterterrorism and drug-interdiction missions, is being incorporated in Jayhawks as they go
through maintenance, and gives the
“M” — for “multimission” — in the
MH-60J or MH-60T designation.
The AUF modifications include
mounts for an M240B 7.62mm
machine gun and a .50-caliber Precision Fire Weapon, the latter intended to disable boat engines. An
ammunition-collection system gathers spent cartridges.
AUF includes satellite communications and new radios
that improve communications with police and fire department units on scene. A video- and voice-monitoring and
recording system is incorporated for the service’s law-enforcement and fisheries-protection roles for evidence
collection and training, Menders said.
The avionics upgrade centers on the Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS), developed by Rockwell
Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The CAAS is a “glass cockpit” that features digital liquid-crystal displays, among
The digital displays of the CAAS will represent a great
increase in capability over the older monochrome displays
on the HH-60J. CAAS includes five full-color MFD-268C3
6-inch by 8-inch active-matrix liquid-crystal displays that
are compatible with night-vision goggles. Also featured are
two CDU-7000 control display units, which also are being
installed on the service’s H- 65 Dolphin helicopters, adding
the economic advantages of commonality.
CAAS takes information from two embedded Global
Positioning System/inertial navigation units and “uses
those together with a pilot-defined flight plan to provide fully automatic navigation for the aircraft, including search-and-rescue patterns,” said Dan Toy, principal
marketing manager for mobility and rotary-wing solu-
A major upgrade program for the Coast Guard’s H- 60 Jayhawk
will expand capabilities and extend the service life of the 20-year-
■ Upgrades add armament and improved sensors and reduce
■ Rockwell Collins’ “glass” cockpit increases situational awareness.
■ The Jayhawk fleet life will be extended to 2027.
Next month will mark the initial operational capability milestone for the Coast Guard’s newest helicopter version, the MH-60T Jayhawk. The modernized Jayhawk will assume the watch at
Coast Guard Air Station, Elizabeth City, N.C., as the first
operational aircraft of 42 such eventual conversions.
The MH-60T is an upgrade of the Sikorsky-built
HH-60J and MH-60J Jayhawk that have served as the
Coast Guard’s primary medium-range search-and-rescue
helicopters since 1990.
The Coast Guard acquired 42 HH-60Js. Normally, 35
are kept in operational status at eight air stations and seven
are in programmed depot maintenance at the service’s Air
Logistics Center at Elizabeth City. One was lost in a mishap in 2004 but is being replaced by a Navy SH-60F that
is being converted to the MH-60T configuration under a
$15 million allocation in 2007 from Congress.
The upgrade of the Jayhawk fleet involves a three-pronged modernization program at Elizabeth City, said
Capt. Doug Menders, aviation program manager for
the Coast Guard’s Acquisition Directorate.
A Service-Life Extension Program — begun in 2005 —
involves extensive refurbishment of the airframe, including replacement of 80 percent of the electrical wiring and
several fittings and structures. He said work will lengthen
the service life of the fleet to 2027.
SEAPOWER / AUGUST 2009