Two of the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) MH-60R Seahawk helicopters were loaded onto a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-17 at Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (HX) 21 at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland, for delivery to their new home in Australia May 27, 2015. These two Seahawks mark the halfway point for the U.S. Navy’s foreign military sales agreement with the Commonwealth of Australia for training and production of 24 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters, which began in June 2011.
«As they come off the production line, the Australians have picked them up two at a time», said Commander Scott Stringer, HX-21 MH-60R government flight test director. «This is a multi-year plan that should carry into mid-2016. We are delivering brand new aircraft to the Australians. They still have that new car smell with very few flight hours».
RAN squadron 725 is in the process of establishing MH-60R operations at NAS Nowra, New South Wales. Later this year, HX-21 and RAN squadron 725 are scheduled to test unique modifications on the MH-60Rs. These modifications are based on unique RAN requirements and include the addition of an instrument landing system and a crash-survivable data recorder. The collaborative U.S. and RAN test and evaluation of the MH-60R modifications also allows for an open exchange of professional views and experiences.
Because of interoperability – how the two navies have trained and operated together – Stringer explained how he could foresee a U.S. Navy H-60 pilot seamlessly operating during a cross-deck tour on an Australian ship or vice versa.
«We have six people supporting the MH-60R acquisition and sustainment effort at Pax River and share office space with the RAAF Classic Hornet and Super Hornet sustainment team», said Commander Andrew Dawes, RAN MH-60R project resident team lead. «This is something we take a great deal of pride in and greatly appreciate the support that everyone at NAS Pax River is providing in this process».
The mission of HX-21 is to conduct the highest quality developmental flight test and evaluation of rotary-wing and tilt-rotor aircraft, airborne systems in support of all U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps training, operational combat and operational combat support missions.
MH-60R Seahawk (Romeo)
The MH-60R «Romeo» is the most capable and mature Anti-Submarine (ASW)/Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) multi-mission helicopter available in the world today. Together with its sibling, the MH-60S «Sierra», the Seahawk variants have flown more than 650,000 hours across a 500+ aircraft fleet. The MH-60R Seahawk is deployed globally with the U.S. Navy fleet and a growing number of allied international navies.
The journey from the start of MH-60R Seahawk flight-testing through the first deployment, in 2009, of 11 MH-60R helicopters aboard the USS Stennis, represents 1,900 flight hours, the equivalent of 500 labor years, and a considerable financial commitment by Lockheed Martin.
The MH-60R Seahawk, manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft Corp, and equipped with advanced mission systems and sensors by Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training (MST), is capable of detecting and prosecuting modern submarines in littoral and open ocean scenarios.
In addition, MH-60R Seahawk is capable of conducting stand-alone or joint Anti-Surface Warfare missions with other «Romeo» or MH-60S «Sierra» aircraft. Secondary missions include electronic support measures, search and rescue, vertical replenishment, and medical evacuation.
The advanced mission sensor suite developed and integrated by Lockheed Martin includes:
- APS-147 Multi-mode radar (including Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar);
- AQS-22 Airborne Low Frequency Dipping Sonar (ALFS) subsystem and sonobuoys;
- ALQ-210 Electronic Support Measures with an integrated helo threat warning capability;
- AAS-44 Forward Looking Infrared Electro-Optical device;
- Integrated self-defense;
- A weapons suite including torpedoes and anti-ship missiles.
Lockheed Martin MST also produces the Common Cockpit avionics, fielded on both the MH-60R «Romeo» and MH-60S «Sierra». The 400th Common Cockpit will be installed on the first Royal Australian Navy MH-60R. In 2012, the Common Cockpit exceeded 600,000 flight hours across an operational fleet of 360 aircraft. The digital, all-glass cockpit features four large, flat-panel, multi-function, night-vision-compatible, color displays. The suite processes and manages communications and sensor data streaming into MH-60 multi-mission helicopters, presenting to the crew of three actionable information that significantly reduces workload while increasing situational awareness.
The U.S. Navy is committed to a long-term preplanned product improvement program, also known as P3I, to keep the MH-60R Seahawk current throughout its life. Recent upgrades have included vital software and mission management systems in the Situational Awareness Technology Insertion (SATI) package as well as design upgrades to the Identification Friend-or-Foe Interrogator Subsystem. Combined with the aircraft’s Automatic Radar Periscope Detection and Discrimination system, the MH-60R’s range of detection will expand – enhancing situational awareness and advanced threat detection – while interference with civil air traffic control systems will diminish.
The MH-60R Electronic Surveillance Measures (ESM) system, which provides aircrew with valuable threat-warning capabilities, has benefited from the installation and maintenance of an ESM autoloader, and the development of Mission Data Loads, which comprise a database of possible threats within a specific region of operations.
Smaller elements are included as well, including the integration of a new multi-function radio called the ARC210 Gen 5 (which sister-aircraft MH-60S «Sierra» will also receive), crucial spare assemblies and integration of other core technologies. The Gen 5 radio will provide MH-60R Seahawk aircrew with flexible and secure communication.
Survivability and crashworthiness are not just attributes of the Seahawk helicopter, they are inherent to the design. A strict military standard makes the Seahawk helicopter a rugged and extremely durable helicopter that delivers safety. Safety that has been proven in real missions, around the world. Some of our aircraft have over thirty years of service and continue to support operations in the most rigorous of environments known to man.
- Marinized airframe structure for improved survivability
- Multi-functional and durable cabin flooring
- Two jettisonable cockpit doors
- Single cabin sliding door
- Recovery, Assist, Secure and Traverse (RAST) System
- Automatic main rotor blade fold
- Built-in work platforms, engine cowlings and hydraulic deck
- External rescue hoist
- 6,000 lbs/2,721.55 kg external cargo hook
- Active vibration control system
- Enhanced Advanced Flight Control System (AFCS) with naval modules and coupled hover capability
- Four 8×10 inch (20.3×25.4 cm) full color, night vision device capable, sunlight readable, multi-function mission and flight displays
- Secure Very High Frequency/Ultra High Frequency (VHF/UHF) communication
- Inertial navigation system
- Satellite communication
- Data link
- AAS-44 Forward Looking Infrared/Night Vision (FLIR/NVG) capability
Powerplant and fuel system
- Two fully marinized T700-GE401C engines
- Auxiliary power unit
- Fuel dump system
- Sealed tub design
- Hover in-flight refueling
- Auxiliary external fuel tanks, 120 gallons each
- Automatic main rotor blade fold
- Manual pylon and stabilator fold
- Dual redundant and isolated flight controls
- Rotor brake
- Ballistically tolerant transmission and drive system
- ALQ-210 Electronic Support Measures
- Integrated avionics with 1553 data bus
- Environmental control system
|Operating length||64.83 feet/19.76 m|
|Operating width||53.66 feet/16.35 m|
|Operating height||16.70 feet/5.10 m|
|Folded Length||41.05 feet/12.51 m|
|Folded width||11.00 feet/3.37 m|
|Folded height||12.92 feet/3.94 m|
|Main rotor diameter||53.66 feet/16.35 m|
|Tail rotor diameter||11.00 feet/3.35 m|
|Cabin Length||10.8 feet/3.2 m|
|Cabin Width||6.1 feet/1.8 m|
|Cabin Height||4.4 feet/1.3 m|
|Cabin Area||65 feet2/6.0 m2|
|Cabin Volume||299 feet3/8.5 m3|
|Powerplant and fuel system|
|Number of Engines||2|
|Maximum Take Off||3,426 shp/2,554 kW|
|One Engine Inoperative Shaft horsepower||1,911 shp/1,425 kW|
|Maximum Take-Off Gross Weight||23,500 lbs/10,682 kg|
|Mission Gross Weight (Surface Warfare)||21,290 lbs/9,657 kg|
|Mission Endurance (Surface Warfare)||3.30 hours|
|Maximum Speed||180 knots/207 mph/333 km/h|
|Maximum Cruise Speed||144 knots/166 mph/267 km/h|
|Hovering In Ground Effect (HIGE) Ceiling||14,847 feet/4,525 m|
|Hover Out of Ground Effect (HOGE) Ceiling||9,945 feet/3,031 m|
|All Engine Operable (AEO) Service Ceiling||11,282 feet/3,438 m|
|Weapons||Anti-ship missiles, torpedoes, 50 cal. guns|
Lieutenant Eugene Cleary, Royal Australian Navy, describes this «formidable ASW and Anti-surface platform». Designed for maritime dominance and deployed with the U.S. Navy, the MH-60R Seahawk is the world’s most advanced multi-mission helicopter. The «Romeo» has also been selected by the Royal Danish Navy