Lockheed-Martin has announced that the MH-60R surface and subsurface weapon
system has completed successfully the technical evaluation and is now ready to
enter operational evaluation (OPEVAL) and fleet introduction.
US Navy's MH-60R helicopter has been developed to protect the fleet from surface
and underwater threats well into the 21st century. Operational evaluation and
fleet introduction are expected for later this year. The US Navy's newest
helicopter entered technical evaluation (TECHEVAL) in August 2004. The final
step, OPEVAL, is expected to begin in May.
Lockheed-Martin has anticipated that it will deliver the first four MH-60Rs to
the Navy in December 2005. During TECHEVAL, the Navy's HX-21 and
VX-1 squadrons simultaneously tested the operational and development performance
of all on-board weapons subsystems, with specific attention focused on the
multimode radar, electronic support measures (ESM) and radar warning receiver,
airborne dipping sonar and acoustics, and the fusion of multiple data sources to
reduce operator workload.
Around 630 flight hours were conducted during the tests at four test ranges
located in Florida, California, Maryland and the Caribbean. ESM was tested at
China Lake, California, and Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. Radar tests were
conduced at the Southern California near San Clemente Island. Periscope and
subsurface detection tests were conducted in the Caribbean. Additional testing
was conducted at the Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Maryland.
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