The Sikorsky SH-60/MH-60
(or Sea Hawk
) is a twin turboshaft
engine, multi-mission United States Navy
helicopter based on
the airframe of the United States
Army UH-60 Black Hawk
member of the Sikorsky S-70
The most significant modification is a hinged tail to reduce its
footprint aboard ships.
The U.S. Navy uses the H-60 airframe under the model designations
. Able to deploy aboard any air-capable
, fast combat support ship
, amphibious assault ship
, or aircraft carrier
, the Seahawk can handle
undersea warfare (USW), anti-surface warfare
special warfare (NSW) insertion, search and rescue
(SAR), combat search and
rescue (CSAR), vertical replenishment (VERTREP), and medical evacuation
(MEDEVAC). All Navy
H-60s carry either the Lucas Western or Breeze Eastern rescue hoist
for SAR/CSAR missions.
Design and development
During the 1970s the US Navy began looking for new helicopter to
replace the Kaman SH-2 Seasprite
SH-2 Seasprite was used by the Navy as its platform for the
(LAMPS) Mark I avionics suite for the
maritime warfare and a secondary search and rescue capability.
Advances in sensor and avionic technology lead to LAMPS Mk II
suite, but the SH-2 was not large enough to carry the Navy's
required equipment. In the mid-1970s the Army was evaluating of the
and Boeing-Vertol YUH-61
for its Utility
Tactical Transport Aircraft System (UTTAS) competition. The Navy
based its requirements on the Army's UTTAS specification to
decrease costs from commonality. Sikorsky and Boeing-Vertol
submitted proposals for Navy versions of their Army UTTAS
helicopters in April 1977 for review. The Navy also looked
at helicopters being produced by Bell, Kaman, Westland and MBB, but these were too
small for the mission.
In early 1978 the Navy selected
Sikorsky's S-70B design, which was designated "SH-60B
The SH-60B maintained 83% commonality with the UH-60A. The main
changes are corrosion protection, more powerful T700 engines,
shifting the tail landing gear 13 ft forward, replacing left
side door with fuselage structure, and adding two weapon pylons.
Other changes included larger fuel cells, an electric blade folding
system, folding horizontal stabilators for storage, and adding a
25-tube pneumatic sonobuoy
launcher on left
side. Shifting the tail landing gear reduced the footprint for
Five YSH-60B Seahawk LAMPS III prototypes were ordered. The first
flight of a YSH-60B occurred on 12 December 1979. The first
production version SH-60B achieved its first flight on 11 February
1983. The SH-60B entered operational service in 1984 with first
operational deployment in 1985.
The SH-60B LAMPS Mk III is deployed primarily aboard frigates
. The primary missions of the SH-60B
are surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare.
The SH-60B carries a complex system of sensors including a towed
Magnetic Anomaly Detector
(MAD) and air-launched sonobuoys
sensors include the APS-124 search radar, ALQ-142 ESM system and
optional nose-mounted forward
(FLIR) turret. It carries the Mk 46
, Mk 50
or Mk 54 torpedo
missile, and a single cabin-door-mounted M60D
7.62 mm (0.30 in) machine gun or
.50 in (12.7 mm) machine
A standard crew for a SH-60B is one pilot, one ATO/Co-Pilot
(Airborne Tactical Officer), and an enlisted aviation systems
warfare operator (sensor operator). Operating squadrons are
designated Helicopter Anti-submarine Light (HSL).
The SH-60J is a version of the SH-60B for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense
. The SH-60K is a modified version of the SH-60J. The
SH-60J and SH-60K
are built under
license by Mitsubishi
After the SH-60B entered service, the Navy began development of the
SH-60F variant to replace the SH-3 Sea
. Development of this variant began with the award of a
contract to Sikorsky in March 1985. An early SH-60B was modified to
serve as a SH-60F prototype. The company was contracted to produce
seven SH-60Fs in January 1986 and the first example flew on 19
March 1987.Donald 2004, pp. 158.
The SH-60F serves as the carrier battle group's primary
anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and search and rescue (SAR) aircraft.
It hunts submarines with the AN/AQS-13F
, and carries 14 sonobuoys. The
SH-60F carries the Mk 46 torpedo and a choice of cabin-mounted
machine guns, including the M60D, M240, and GAU-16 for defense.
Standard crew complement is one pilot, one copilot, one enlisted
tactical sensor operator (TSO), and one enlisted acoustic sensor
The SH-60F first entered operational service in 22 June 1989 with
Helicopter Antisubmarine Squardron 10 (HS-10) at NAS North Island.
SH-60F squadrons will shift from the SH-60F to the MH-60S beginning
in 2009, they will be redesignated Helicopter Sea Combat
HH-60H "Rescue Hawk"
An HH-60H deploying a SAR
The HH-60H was developed beginning in September 1986 with a
contract for the first five helicopters. The variant's first flight
occurred on 17 August 1988. The HH-60H was developed in conjunction
with the US Coast Guard's HH-60J
Deliveries of the HH-60H began in 1989. The variant earned initial
operating capability in April 1990.Donald 2004, p. 158.
Based on the SH-60F, the HH-60H is the primary combat search and
rescue (CSAR), naval special warfare (NSW) and anti-surface warfare
(ASUW) helicopter. It carries a variety of defensive and offensive
sensors making it one of the most survivable helicopters in the
world. Sensors include a FLIR
turret with laser
designator and the Aircraft Survival Equipment (ASE) package
including the ALQ-144 Infrared Jammer
Laser Detectors, APR-39
(V)2 Radar Detectors,
AAR-47 Missile Launch Detectors and ALE-47
chaff/flare dispensers. Additionally, airframe improvements in
engine exhaust deflectors provide infrared thermal reduction
reducing the threat of heat-seeking missiles. The HH-60H can carry
up to four AGM-114 Hellfire missiles on an extended wing using the
M299 launcher and a variety of cabin and port window mounted guns
including M60D, M240, GAU-16 and GAU-17/A
machine guns. The standard crew for a Rescue Hawk is one pilot, one
copilot, and two door gunners. HH-60H are operated in Helicopter
Antisubmarine (HS) squadrons with a standard dispersal of four
F-models and three H-models.
The HH-60H's official DoD and Sikorsky name is Seahawk
though it has been called "Rescue Hawk".
An MH-60S Knighthawk conducts
The Navy decided to replace the venerable CH-46 Sea Knight
helicopter in 1997. After
sea demonstrations by a converted UH-60, the Navy awarded
production contract for the CH-60S in 1998. The variant first flew
in 27 January 2000 and it began flight testing later that year. The
CH-60S was redesignated MH-60S in February 2001 to reflect its
planned multi-mission use.Donald 2004, pp. 159-160.
The MH-60S is based on the UH-60L
and has many naval SH-60 features. It is deployed aboard amphibious assault ships
fast combat supply ships
It has two missions: troop transport and vertical replenishment
can also perform search and rescue (SAR). The MH-60S has no
offensive sensors but can carry the ALQ-144 Infrared Jammer. The
MH-60S will, in the near future, deploy with the AQS-20A
Mine Detection System and an Airborne Laser
Mine Detection System (ALMDS) for identifying submerged objects in
coastal waters. The S-model is the first US Navy helicopter to
field the glass cockpit
flight data information is relayed to pilots using four digital
screens rather than electromechanical
gauges and dials. The
primary means of defense is with the M60D, M240 or GAU-17/A guns. A
"batwing" refit (Armed Helo Kit) based on the Army's UH-60L was
developed to accommodate Hellfire, Hydra 70 2.75" rockets, or a
larger guns or cannon.
The MH-60S is unofficially known as the "Knighthawk", reflecting
its role as the designated successor of the Sea Knight, though this
name was formally disapproved in favor of the "Seahawk" name. A
standard crew for the "Knighthawk" is one pilot, one copilot and
two others depending on mission. With the retirement of the Sea
Knight, the squadron designation of Helicopter Combat Support
Squadron (HC) was also retired from the Navy. Operating MH-60S
squadrons were re-designated Helicopter Sea Combat (HSC).
Unlike all other Navy H-60s, the MH-60S is not based on the
original S-70B/SH-60B platform with its forward-mounted twin
tail-gear and single starboard sliding cabin door. Instead, the
S-model is a hybrid, featuring the main fuselage of the
S-70A/UH-60, with large sliding doors on both sides of the cabin
and a single aft-mounted tail wheel; and the engines, drivetrain
and rotors of the S-70B/SH-60.
2009, the Republic of
Korea requested eight MH-60S helicopters, 16 GE T700-401C
engines, and related sensor systems to be sold in a Foreign Military Sale.
An MH-60R conducts sonar
The MH-60R was originally referred to as "LAMPS Mark III Block II
Upgrade" when it began development in 1993. Two SH-60Bs were
converted by Sikorsky for the project. The first modified SH-60
made its maiden flight on 22 December 1999. These conversions,
designated YSH-60R, were delivered to NAS Patuxent River in 2001
for flight testing. The production variant was redesignated MH-60R
to match its multi-mission capability.
The MH-60R is designed to combine the features of the SH-60B and
SH-60F. Its sensors include the ASE package, MTS-FLIR, an advanced
airborne fleet data link, and a more advanced airborne active
sonar. It does not carry the MAD suite. Pilot instrumentation will
be based on the MH-60S's glass
, using several digital monitors instead of the complex
array of dials and gauges in Bravo and Foxtrot aircraft. Offensive
capabilities are improved by the addition of new Mk-54 air-launched torpedoes
missiles. All Helicopter Anti-Submarine Light (HSL) squadrons that
receive the Romeo will be redesignated Helicopter Maritime Strike
The Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS), HSM-41, received the R-model
aircraft in December 2005 and has begun training the first set of
pilots. In 2007, the MH-60R successfully underwent final testing
for incorporation into the fleet. As of August 2008, the first 11
combat-ready examples equipped HSM-71
squadron assigned to the USS John C. Stennis
. According to Lockheed Martin
, "secondary missions include
search and rescue, vertical replenishment, naval surface fire
support, logistics support, personnel transport, medical evacuation
and communications and data relay."
- YSH-60B Seahawk: Developmental version, led to
- SH-60B Seahawk
- NSH-60B Seahawk: Permanently configured for
- SH-60F Oceanhawk
- NSH-60F Seahawk: Modified SH-60F to support
the VH-60N Cockpit Upgrade Program.
- HH-60H Rescue Hawk:
- YSH-60R Seahawk:
- MH-60R Seahawk:
- YCH-60S "Knighthawk":
- MH-60S "Knighthawk":
- S-70B Seahawk: Sikorsky's designation for
Seahawk. Designation is often used for exports.
- S-70B-1 Seahawk: Anti-submarine version for the Spanish Navy.
The Seahawk is configured with the LAMPS(Light Airbone Multipurpose
- S-70B-2 Seahawk: Anti-submarine version for the Royal
Australian Navy, similar to the SH-60B Seahawk in US Navy
- S-70B-3 Seahawk: Anti-submarine version for the Japanese
Maritime Self Defence Force. Also known as the SH-60J, the JMSDF ordered a total of 101
units, with deliveries starting in 1991.
- S-70B-6 Aegean Hawk: the Greek military variant which is a
blend of the SH-60B and F models, based on Taiwan's
- S-70B-7 Seahawk: Export version for the Royal Thai Navy.
- S-70C(M)-1/2 Thunderhawk: Export version for the Republic of
China (Taiwan) Navy.
- S-70A (N) Naval Hawk: Maritime variant that blends the S-70A
Black Hawk and S-70B Seahawk designs.
Operational US Navy squadrons
SH-60F Seahawk hoisting up a SAR swim
- Received 11 S-70B-6 Aegean Hawks, and has 11 S-70Bs in service
as of 2008.
- Spanish Navy - received 12 S-70B-1
Seahawks and has 12 S-70Bs in service as of 2008.
- Republic of China Navy -
received 21 S-70C (10 S-70C(M)-1 and 11 S-70C(M)-2) Thunderhawks,
and has 19 S-70Cs in service as of 2008 in 701st and 702nd
Helicopter Squadron (Light).
- Royal Thai Navy - received 6
S-70B-7 Seahawks, and has 6 MH-60S Seahawks order. It has 6 S-70Bs
in use as of 2008.
- Turkish Naval Forces - has
received 8 S-70B-28 Seahawks with 17 more on order. It has 7 S-70Bs
in use as of 2008.
- A1-H60CA-NFM-000 NATOPS Flight Manual
Navy Model H-60F/H Aircraft
- Donald, David ed. "Sikorsky HH/MH/SH-60 Seahawk", Warplanes
of the Fleet. AIRtime, 2004. ISBN 1-880588-81-1.
- Leoni, Ray D. Black Hawk, The Story of a World Class
Helicopter, American Institute of Aeronautics and
Astronautics, 2007. ISBN 978-1-56347-918-2.
- Tomajczyk, Stephen F. Black Hawk, MBI, 2003. ISBN