Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR Sept 2011 Contents 14 | Asia Pacific Defence Reporter
AIR 9000 PHASE 8
The MH-60R, the US Navy’s latest
H-60R Sea Hawk helicopter takes part in a gun
exercise off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida.
Credit: USN /Shannon Renfroe
he new US Navy helicopter was
selected by the RAN in June 2011 to
replace ageing Seahawks following a
competitive tender between the US
Navy and NH Industries - offering the
to supply up to 24 complete aircraft
and associated support services. The decision
seems odd when 46 NH-90s, labelled the MRH-90
will support the RAN’s “transport” capability and
means that the RAN will operate two different
helicopters and by doing so will ignore the 80%
commonality of the two NHI aircraft. This paper
reviews the MH-60R .
MH-60R (ROMEO) MULTI-MISSION
This aircraft is the latest iteration of the Seahawk
family of ship-based helicopters and is evolved
from the legacy SH-60B.
A LAMPS (Light Airborne Multi-Purpose
System) 111, Block 2 aircraft, the Romeo conforms
with the US Navy’s decision to have only two types
of helicopter of the same “breed” in Naval service
to meet the second stage of the US Navy’s Master
plan. This plan fulfils the requirements of the US
Navy’s Sea Power 21 “Sea Shield” doctrine and is
the cornerstone of its Concept of Operations.
The Romeo is a “new manufacture” aircraft and
the US Navy plans to operate about 300 of them
by 2015. Production is shared by Sikorsky Aircraft,
the platform manufacturer, Lockheed Martin the
total systems integrator and a large number of
traditional mission equipment suppliers such as
Raytheon, Harris and Lockheed Martin.
The Romeo’s primary mission capabilities
are ASW and ASuW with secondary missions
including SAR, NGFS, VERTREP, communications
relay, surveillance, logistics support and
personnel transfer. The aircraft operates from a
wide range of naval ships, from frigates through
aircraft carriers “ in intense littoral and open
water warfare environments”.
DEVELOPMENT AND PRODUCTION
The development cycle was very short with the
first MH-60R delivered in August 2005, followed
by full rate production approval in April 2006,
OPEVAL completed in October 2006, and the
first squadron, out of five to be established,
commissioned in October 2007. March 2008
saw the first at sea operations. During this time
a significant technology insertion program
was implemented, principally directed to the
replacement of obsolescent mission systems
carried forward from the SH-50 .
On June 16 2011 Defence awarded the USN a
contract for supply of 24 MH-60Rs for delivery
beginning 2013-14 that also addressed a wide
range of support issues and commitments to
local industry by the suppliers. The contract will
be managed through the auspices of the US
Government’s FMS organisation.
The MH-60R’s airframe is effectively a clone of the
SH- 60B’s but uses new materials that are more
corrosion resistant, more reliable and easier to
maintain and repair.
Two GE turboshaft engines rated at 1425kW
each, driving the four-blade main rotor and four-
blade tail rotor are installed. Active vibration
control replaces the original passive system to
attenuate rotor- induced vibrations into the
airframe. The main rotor folds automatically for
The aircrew comprises a Pilot and Co-pilot/
Tacco in a two-person cockpit and two sensor
operators, operating sensor equipment in a rear
crew compartment. Limited personnel transport
is also provided.
APDR Sept 2011.indd 14
2/09/11 2:23 PM
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