BRIEFING: The MH-60R is the Navy’s next-generation
submarine hunter and surface attack helicopter designed
to replace SH-60B and SH-60F. The MH-60R’s primary
mission areas encompass undersea warfare, surface warfare, area surveillance and combat identification. Secondary
mission areas include search and rescue, vertical replenishment, naval surface fire support, logistics support, personnel
transport, medical evacuation and ultra-high frequency
communication relay. The modular design of the MH-60R
provides greater surveillance capabilities, flexibility and more
options to address multiple mission requirements with a single platform.
The MH-60R is equipped with a glass cockpit — common
with the MH-60S, with functionally equivalent workstations —
and employ the AQS-22F Airborne Low-Frequency Sonar,
sonobuoys, acoustic processing, ALQ-210 Electronic Support
Measures, APS- 147 or APS- 153 Multimode Imaging Radar,
AAS-44C Generation 3 infrared sensor, an Integrated Self-Defense Suite and an Organizational Level Interactive Electronic
Technical Manuals System. Additionally, it has four external
stores stations that can carry various combinations of torpedoes, missiles or external fuel tanks.
The MH-60R completed operational evaluation in
September 2005 and reached IOC in December 2005 with
HSM- 41, the MH-60R West Coast fleet replacement squadron. HSM- 71 was established in January 2007 as the first
operational MH-60R squadron and took the MH-60R on its
first deployment in 2009. HSL- 47 became the first SH-60B
squadron to transition to the MH-60R and was redesignated
HSM- 77. The Navy’s current plans call for a total of 280 aircraft, of which 231 were in service in October 2016.
Additionally, the U.S. Navy has three foreign MH-60R
partners: Australia received its 24th and final MH-60R in July
2016, Denmark has taken delivery of four of nine MH-60Rs
and in July 2015 the Royal Saudi Arabian Navy agreed to purchase 10 MH-60Rs.
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 interdiction 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.