BRIEFING: The MH-60S is a multimission platform that has
replaced the HH-1N, UH-3H and H-46D helicopters and will replace
the HH-60H. It performs several missions, including combat logistics support, vertical replenishment, amphibious search and rescue,
combat search and rescue, utility support and airborne mine countermeasures (AMCM). To support these missions, three MH-60S
configurations are being fielded: a combat support configuration, an
AMCM configuration and an armed helicopter configuration.
The MH-60S combat support configuration reached IOC in
August 2002, replacing the H-46D-series helicopters in the vertical replenishment and utility roles.
The AMCM-equipped MH-60S configuration will detect,
localize and neutralize sea-based mines to clear the path for battle groups. AMCM systems being developed for this configuration include the AES- 1 Airborne Laser Mine-Detection System
(ALMDS) and the Airborne Mine-Neutralization System. The
MH-60S AMCM systems technology is a critical aspect in
enabling the littoral combat ship to perform required organic
minesweeping operational capabilities. The AMCM-equipped
MH-60S configuration reached IOC in 2014. The MH-60S conducted an early deployment to the Middle East with the ALMDS
mine-hunting system in summer 2014.
The MH-60S armed helicopter configuration provides a robust
capability in the areas of combat search and rescue, maritime inter-
diction operations and surface warfare. It includes eight Hellfire
missiles and up to 38 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System
laser-guided 2.75-inch rockets; 2.75-inch unguided Hydra 70
rockets; M197 20mm Gatling gun and Fixed Forward Firing
Weapons; and the AAS-44C infrared sensor system. Additionally,
the mission kit gives the crew capability to fire the M240 7.62mm
guns from the port and starboard gunners’ windows and GAU- 21
.50-caliber guns from the port and starboard cabin doors. The
armed MH-60S reached IOC in 2007 and was deployed for the first
time in January 2009 with HSC- 8.
The MH-60S also serves in test roles and as a search-and-rescue
aircraft at several naval air stations. Production of all 275 U.S. Navy
MH-60S aircraft was expected to be complete in December 2015;
249 MH-60Ss were in service in the U.S. Navy as of October 2015.
The Royal Thai Navy also has purchased two MH-60Ss.
BRIEFING: The SH-60B was retired in mid-2015, replaced by
BRIEFING: The SH-60F is equipped with the AQS-13F dipping
sonar, sonobuoys and carries up to three torpedoes. As the Navy’s
carrier ASW helicopter, the SH-60F operates to protect the inner
zone of a carrier battle group from submarine attacks. This platform also carries out such secondary missions as search and rescue,
medical evacuation, vertical replenishment and fleet support.
Operational since 1989, the SH-60F serves in only one operational HS squadron, with three on strength. One NSH-60F also
serves as a test aircraft. The SH-60F is scheduled to be retired by
mid-2016 and replaced in its roles by the MH-60R and MH-60S.
Two SH-60Fs have been sold to the Spanish Navy.
BRIEFING: The HH-60H operates as a strike rescue and special
operations aircraft, and is equipped with AAS- 44 Generation 2
infrared sensor, Hellfire missiles and crew-served weapons. This
platform also carries out such secondary missions as search and
rescue, medical evacuation, vertical replenishment and fleet support. Operational since 1990, there were 20 HH-60Hs in Navy
service in October 2015 in one HS squadron, one HSC readiness
squadron and two Reserve HSC squadrons.