Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: Seahawk
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-60R Strikehawk
, 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-60S Naval Hawk helicopter has been designed to meet the US Navy requirements for a fleet combat support aircraft. The MH-60S is an amalgam of US Army UH-60L and US Navy SH-60B helicopters. The UH-60L cabin provides a larger volume and features required for cargo and passenger transport. While SH-60B design offers naval capabilities required to operate aboard ship. In June 2005 the MH-60S program was increased to 271 helicopters valued at approximately $7.7 billion. MH-60S helicopters missions include vertical replenishment, combat search and rescue, special warfare support, and airborne mine countermeasures. To carry out these missions the MH-60S would be outfitted with the corresponding equipment. Current CH-46s and HH-60Hs operated by the US Navy and the USMC are expected to be replaced by the MH-60S.
Under the Organic Airborne Mine Countermeasures (OAMCM) systems initiative the following items will be integrated on the MH-60S helicopter: AN/AQS-20A underwater towed sonar system, Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS), Airborne Mine Neutralization System (AMNS), Rapid Airborne Mine Clearance System (RAMICS) and Organic Airborne Surface Influence Sweep (OASIS). These systems will provide US Navy's MH-60S helicopter with an enhanced and unprecedented mine clearance capability in many environments. The US Navy plans to procure 237 MH-60S helicopters through 2010. The MH-60S and the MH-60R will reduce the number of shipboard helicopters within the US Navy from seven types to only two types.
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.
Beginning in September 2006, the Armed Helicopter mission kit, also known as Armed Helo, will allow MH-60S to perform organic combat search and rescue (CSAR), maritime interdiction operations (MIO), surface warfare (SUW) and carrier plane guard or SAR. Armed Helo mission kit, which includes sensors; avionics; weapons; integrated self-defense; and survivability capabilities, will ad Hellfire missiles and FLIR as key elements to MH-60S. In addition, mission kit will give the crew the capability to fire laser-sighted guns up to .50 caliber. These capabilities are already deployed by the MH-60R helicopter.
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 August 2005, the initial operational capability for the MH-60S Airborne Mine Countermine helicopter was slated for March 2007 due to hardware problems which require to redesign and manufacture some aircraft components.
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