The MH-60R Seahawk, the Navy's next generation submarine hunter and surface
attack helicopter, entered operational evaluation (OpEval) May 9 with Air Test
and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 1 at Patuxent River, Maryland.
Designed to replace the fleet's legacy SH-60B and SH-60F aircraft, the MH-60R
and its mission systems will undergo rigorous assessment in operational flight
conditions by fleet representatives.
OpEval is the aircraft's final test phase before fleet introduction and
Navy evaluators gave the authorization to begin OpEval at an April 22 operations
test readiness review meeting. The decision followed the helicopter's successful
completion of the Navy's six-month developmental test phase, known as technical
evaluation, in February.
The Navy's operational test squadron VX-1 will conduct OpEval, scheduled to end
in September, here at Patuxent River, Maryland. and various other test ranges.
Specifically, VX-1 will evaluate the performance of the MH-60R aircraft and its
on-board weapons subsystems, including the multimode radar, electronic support
measures and radar warning receiver, airborne dipping sonar and acoustics. The
fusion of multiple data sources for most effective workload management and
decision-making also will be evaluated.
The new technology this platform brings to the fleet and operating forces around
the world will change the way naval forces fight, by providing greater
surveillance capabilities and more combat options for strike group commanders,
according to program officials.
Industry partners agree that the increased capabilities that are offered with
the MH-60R will play a major role in a naval force that will deter and win the
wars of the future.
Lockheed Martin is the mission systems integrator for the MH-60R, and also
provides the digital cockpit, which is common to all MH-60S and MH-60R
helicopters. Sikorsky designs and manufactures the MH-60S and MH-60R aircraft
and is responsible for the mechanical and electrical modifications on the
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