Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Origin: United States of America
Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation
Parent System: H-60 Hawk
Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Family Members: A2C2S
, Advanced UH-60J
, HH-60G Pave Hawk
, HH-60M BlackHawk
, MH-60M BlackHawk
, MH-60S Knighthawk
, S-70i International Black Hawk
, SH-60B Seahawk
, SH-60F Ocean Hawk
, UH-60A Blackhawk
, UH-60L Blackhawk
, UH-60M BlackHawk
, UH-60Q Medevac
and UH-60V Blackhawk
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Description: The UH-60 utility tactical transport helicopters provide air assault, general support, medial evacuation, command and control, electronic warfare, and special operations support for the US Army and allied nations. They feature lightweight armor to counter small arms fire, as well as hardened and redundant sub-systems design for improved survivability. The UH-60 airframe has been designed to progressively crush on impact, protecting the crew and the passengers. The UH-60 helicopters provide improved mobility to ground forces, due to dramatic improvements in troop capacity and cargo lift capability compared to previous utility helicopters. UH-60s also enable rapid deployment of infantry troops throughout the battlefield. Up to 11 combat ready troops and a crew of 4 can be accommodated inside a UH-60 helicopter.
The UH-60 helicopter can accommodate external fuel tanks to achieve extended range, small caliber guns typically for self-defense, and even Hellfire anti-tank missiles, as well as other equipment. They can operate in almost any weather conditions even carrying a 105mm howitzer, its crew of 6-man, and up to 30 rounds of ammunition in just a single lift. It has been exported under the S-70 designation and more than 2,660 units have been produced to date. The US Army is the largest UH-60 operator with an estimated procurement of 1,725 UH-60A/L helicopters and more than 4,600 aircraft produced for domestic and foreign operators. The US Army expects to upgrade the majority of the fleet to the UH-60M standard by 2020.
The MH-60R has been designed to replace existing SH-60B and SH-60F helicopters in the US Navy. It has been enhanced through addition of a glass cockpit, improved sonar (AQS-22), radar, Electronic Support Measures, and an integrated self-defense suite. The cockpit will be common to the MH-60S helicopter reducing the logistic support infrastructure and costs. The MH-60R will be based aboard the US Navy Aircraft carriers, frigates, destroyers and cruisers, performing anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface warfare (ASuW). The US Navy has a requirement for up to 243 MH-60R new-built helicopters with deliveries beginning in 2005 through 2015. Once started the full rate production phase, up to 30 aircraft per year will be delivered to the Navy.
In November 2004, Lockheed-Martin was awarded a $20 million contract for development of upgrades related to communications capabilities of both MH-60S and MH-60R helicopters. These upgrades will affect communications between the two noted helicopters and the US Navy, US Air Force and NATO aircraft as well as US Navy's surface ships. This contract is the first phase of a multiyear contract. The upgrade program development and integration is planned in 2007 and fleet deployment in 2009.
The upgrade includes Link 16, command and control data link, to allow helicopters and aircraft to exchange situational awareness information, and a Ku-band data link, to allow high data rate data transfer from a helicopter to a ship. The upgrade also will provide increased mission planning capability, an improved multispectral targeting system and forward-looking infrared sensor (MTS-FLIR), and enhanced maintenance and reliability with addition of an integrated mechanical diagnostic system.
In March 2005, the MH-60R helicopter completed technical evaluation (TECHEVAL) paving the way to the operational evaluation (OPEVAL) and fleet introduction later in 2005. At the same time, Lockheed-Martin released that the first four operational MH-60Rs were scheduled for delivery to the US Navy in December 2005 after completing OPEVAL. The MH-60R officially entered OPEVAL at Patuxent River, Maryland, on May 9, 205. The first production MH-60R was delivered to the US Navy 19 August 2005 at Sikorsky's facility in Stratford, Connecticut.
In September 2005, the US Navy issued Lockheed-Martin a $51 million contract to integrate Link 16 capability on the MH-60R and MH-60S helicopters. The Link 16 command and control data link provides secure exchange of critical tactical information through a NATO standardized encrypted channel. The AN/ARC-210 radios were also scheduled for upgrade to allow voice communications with US Army's radio systems. As of October 2005, the US Navy has authorized production of 13 MH-60R helicopters with the full rate production decision expected in Spring 2006. The MH-60R and the MH-60S are to be equipped with the Lockheed Martin Common Cockpit avionics suite. Both helicopters are manufactured by Sikorsky and then outfitted with weapon systems and sensors by Lockheed Martin in Owego.
On 31 March 2006 Lockheed Martin delivered the first production MH-60R helicopter fully integrated for anti-submarine (ASW) and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) missions to the US Navy. In early April 2006 the US Navy approved the MH-60R full rate production. On 16 November 2006 the US Navy awarded Sikorsky a $138 million contract for procurement of 12 MH-60R helicopters. These helicopters were ordered under Lot IV procurement contract and were set to complete December 2007. In early 2010 the program's scope was increased from 256 to 300 aircraft.
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