The Coast Guard Acquisition Directorate’s H-60 Conversion and Sustainment Project, in conjunction with the Aviation Logistics Center’s H-60 Product Line, delivered the first production MH-60T “Jayhawk” Medium Range Recovery helicopter (tail number CG 6028) to Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C. on June 3, 2009. CG 6028 is the third MH-60T delivered overall; two previously delivered MH-60Ts (CG 6017 and CG 6027) are being used for training and testing purposes. Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the MH-60T is anticipated this summer, and the new “T” model will replace all five MH-60Js currently stationed in Elizabeth City before the end of 2009. All 42 H-60 aircraft in service are scheduled to be fully modernized by 2020.
The Coast Guard’s H-60 Product Line managers began converting the first H-60 aircraft to MH-60Ts at the Aviation Logistics Center in Elizabeth City in January 2007. Although the upgrade to the “T” model is designed to be a sustainment project, the conversion will provide additional capabilities, including Airborne Use of Force (AUF), to the H-60 fleet and dramatically improve system reliability.
The Rockwell Collins Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) in the MH-60T cockpit provides fully integrated flight and mission management capabilities. Using five multi-function display screens, aircrews can display radar and Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) data, monitor the Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) and view imagery fed into the cockpit from the rescue hoist camera. Enhanced radar and optical sensors will also contribute to an improved common operating picture and maritime domain awareness. The upgraded helicopters will have a range of 300 nautical miles and have a standard crew of four (two officers, two enlisted).
Because the CAAS upgrade represents a significant change to the Human (Pilot) Machine Interface with the aircraft, the Coast Guard established a training regimen to qualify H-60 aircrews in the “T” model. To date, 29 Coast Guard H-60 pilots have become fully qualified on the MH-60T model through transition training at the Coast Guard’s Aviation Training Center in Mobile, Ala. An MH-60T avionics training program (“C” school) has also been established at the Coast Guard’s Aviation Technical Training Center in Elizabeth City.
The AUF package equips the MH-60T with a 7.62mm machine gun for firing warning shots and a .50 caliber long range rifle for precise targeting, such as disabling the outboard engines on a non-compliant “go-fast” vessel. The package also provides ballistic armor for aircrew protection and upgraded communications sub-systems for better interoperability with other Homeland Security components.
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