MH-60R…. Deployed, Operating Today

Issue: 6 / 2014By Phil ShawPhoto(s): By Lockheed Martin

Deployed globaly with the US Navy (USN) and a growing number of international navies, the MH-60R anti-submarine warfar (ASW) and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) helicopter provides unparalleled maritime security at sea and in coastal waters. As threats become more complex, the MH-60R is designed to address the changing defence environment around the globe.

Manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft Corp and provided with advanced, fully integrated mission systems and sensors by Lockheed Martin, the MH-60R is operational and has achieved more than 2,50,000 flight hours with the US Navy. In November 2014, the Navy received its 200th aircraft ahead of schedule, exceeding six sigma quality. Building on a successful deployment to Southeast Asia with the first littoral combat ship, USS Freedom, the submarine-hunting MH-60R is currently forward operating with littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth for a 16-month deployment, as well as deployed to the Western Pacific, the Arabian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea. The MH-60R seamlessly integrates into the ship’s combat suite, and provides an extension of the ship’s own sensors and weapons. Its deployment sortie completion rate at 95 per cent is unsurpassed. Additionally, our international MH-60R teammates can take full advantage of the worldwide support structure established by the USN that can support deployed MH-60Rs anywhere in the world.

Capable of detecting and prosecuting modern submarines in the littorals and open ocean, the MH-60R employs its advanced mission sensor suite. The suite presents a complete package that enables the helicopter to shift the advantage from the submarine to the aircraft. Its features include: the APS-153 multi-mode radar with long- and short-range search inverse synthetic aperture radar imaging and periscope detection modes; and a fully integrated acoustics suite; advanced ALQ-210 electronic support measures system for radar warning, passive detection, location and identification of emitters. All acquired sensor data is fully integrated into a composite picture that provides the operators with actionable information for threat assessment and superior situational awareness. The data is available not only to the MH-60R crew but also through state-of-the-art data links that provide the embarked warfighters real time actionable, situational awareness of their area of responsibility. Additionally, the MH-60R is equipped with integrated AAS-44C electrooptics/infrared (EO/IR) system including day TV, low light TV and forward-looking infrared modes for expanded night vision and missile-targeting capability; and a network- centric architecture that enhances situational awareness and expands the operational area of influence. Since induction into the US Navy, the MH-60R has and continues to be a game changer across the spectrum of warfighting disciplines.

With its modular design, the MH-60R can adapt its weapon systems to match specific mission requirements. It possesses the agility to provide greater surveillance and flexibility capabilities, as well as more options for multiple mission requirements. While ASW and ASuW are the MH-60R’s primary missions, it also has the capability for secondary missions such as search and rescue, vertical replenishment, naval surface fire support, logistics support, personnel transport, medical evacuation, and VHF/UHF/link communication relay.

While deployed in 2013, the MH-60R provided maritime support to the amphibious force during the cooperation afloat readiness and training exercises, which included missiles, torpedoes or a search and rescue swimmer, depending on the mission at hand. Additionally, MH-60Rs conducted humanitarian aid missions during Operation Damayan, moving nearly 1 million pounds of food, water and medicine in one week, and evacuating nearly 350 people following Typhoon Haiyan, demonstrating its secondary missions as a leader in global force for good.

A partnership on MH-60R will bring jobs and technology to the country. As opportunities develop in India, the experience and success of the Lockheed Martin and Tata Advanced Systems Limited joint venture in Hyderabad supporting Lockheed Martin’s C-130J military transport aircraft lends promise and an example of opportunities for Lockheed Martin future expansion and investments in India. This joint venture continues to produce extremely high quality aero-structures supporting the worldwide C-130J fleet. That same quality, which includes Lockheed Martin’s world leading systems integration knowledge, will continue to be transferred to the Indian defence industrial base for years to come. In accordance with the Defence Procurement Procedure, the Indian Navy will receive advanced MH-60R capabilities with the ability to sustain the platforms indigenously throughout the life of the platform. By the end of the NMRH programme/delivery of the final MH-60R to the Indian Navy, a vast majority of the technology and manufacturing will be transferred and manufactured by Indian defence and aerospace industries.

The first international MH-60R partner is the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The first two aircraft were provided to the RAN in just 29 months after the contract was signed between the US and Australia. To date, the RAN has taken delivery of nine aircraft, all ahead or on schedule, and it has been able to test and demonstrate their capabilities using torpedoes and missiles. The RAN surpassed the 1,000 flight hour milestone on its MH-60R aircraft within ten months after receiving its first MH-60R, which will be deployed on board RAN surface combatants. All 24 MH-60R helicopters for the RAN will be delivered by 2016.

In addition to the RAN, the MH-60R was competitively selected by the Royal Danish Navy for its fleet. The first Danish aircraft is already flying, only 22 months from the acquisition decision. The Royal Danish Navy will receive three missionised MH-60R helicopters in May 2016. International MH-60R partners can share in the US Navy’s ongoing technical insertion road map, mitigating obsolescence and keeping pace and ahead of the maritime threats for the next 30 years and beyond.

MH-60R is a force multiplier in the maritime domain!

The writer is Chief Executive of Lockheed Martin India