Navy's MH-60R Approved for Full-Rate Production

NAVAIR Patuxent River, MD—The Navy’s next generation anti-submarine and surface attack helicopter, the MH-60R Seahawk was approved for full-rate production by the Navy March 31.

Approved by the program’s milestone decision authority, Dr. Delores M. Etter, the assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition, the decision transitions the program from low-rate production and was based on a favorable review of the acquisition strategy and the helicopter’s successful operational evaluation that concluded in September.

“The MH-60R team, including the program office, our industry partners, our developmental test team and the fleet evaluators, has accomplished truly impressive achievements along the road to getting the platform developed and fielded,” said Capt. Paul Grosklags, the H-60 Multi-Mission Helicopter program manager. “But what this decision really means for the Fleet is that now we will be getting this new capability out to where it’s required in the right numbers.”

In an effort to realize long-term cost savings, the Navy is planning to buy a total of 254 MH-60R helicopters, 144 of which via a joint multi-year contract with the Army that combines air vehicle purchases from Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation of Stratford, Conn., with the Army’s UH-60M and the Navy MH-60S. Mission systems and integration will be procured as well through a multi-year contract with Lockheed Martin Systems Integration of Owego, NY.

The MH-60R will use the same Lockheed Martin Common Cockpit (TM) avionics suite as the MH-60S.

The first four MH-60R’s were delivered to the Fleet Replacement Squadron, HSM-41, in December.

Total acquisition costs are expected to be approximately $10 billion over the life of the program and include the cost of government-furnished equipment (ground-maintenance equipment, training materials, etc) as well as the cost of the aircraft themselves.

Sikorsky Aircraft Company designs and manufactures the MH-60S and MH-60R aircraft and is responsible for the mechanical and electrical modifications on the airframe.

Lockheed Martin Systems Integration of Owego, NY, is the systems integrator for the MH-60R, and also provides the digital cockpit, which is common to all MH-60S and MH-60R helicopters.

Avionics upgrades over earlier model Seahawks include the “glass” cockpit, new low-frequency dipping sonar, electronic support measures with expanded frequency coverage and location capability, multi-mode long-range search radar (to include Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar and periscope detection capability), upgraded acoustics processor, integrated self-defense, and the mission planning system.

The MH-60R, which is replacing the Navy’s current fleet of SH-60B and SH-60F helicopters, has primary missions of anti-submarine and surface warfare. Secondary missions include search and rescue, vertical replenishment, naval surface fire support, logistics support, personnel transport, medical evacuation and communications and data relay.

A central component of the U.S. Navy’s Helicopter Master Plan and the Chief of Naval Operations-approved Helicopter Concept of Operations, the MH-60R, along with the MH-60S, will enable the Navy to reduce the number of unique helicopter platforms in service from six to just two by 2015.

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