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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Navy helicopter issues

I have been meaning to do a post on some of the issues facing the Navy with regard rotary wing aircraft, but there's some really good background at Information Dissemination: Congress Looking Into US Navy RW Gaps, which covers much of what I would have.

A few quick thoughts, though. First, the H-60S does not have the range nor the the cargo capacity of the old H-3. While the total lift capability may be nearly the same, the aircraft itself is heavier, thus lowering cargo lift capability. Second, the H-60S does not have the same range as H-3, thus limiting its use in some roles. Finally, while it is nice to think that the H-60S is capable of all the missions that are being piled onto it, I have my doubts that all air crews will be extremely proficient in each such capability. Here's the list Galrahn posts:
According to the Naval Helicopter Concept of Operations, the MH-60R will provide surface and subsurface warfare support with its Airborne Low Frequency Sonar (ALFS), Electronic Support Measures (ESM), Advanced Forward-Looking InfraRed (FLIR), precision air-to-ground missiles, machine guns, and lightweight torpedoes. The MH-60S will partner with the MH-60R for surface warfare missions, carrying the same FLIR and air-to-ground weaponry and machine guns. Additionally, it will be the primary Combat Search And Rescue (CSAR) and Naval Special Warfare (NSW) platform supporting Joint Theater operations. The MH-60S will additionally perform the Organic Airborne Mine CounterMeasures (OAMCM) mission using any one of five advanced sensor/weapons packages to provide detection, localization, and neutralization of anti-access threats (mines).
Surface warfare, Mine Warfare, Special Warfare, CSAR? What about the mission left off the list - vertical replenishment? See here.

It's asking a lot of the training pipeline to create pilots and crews expert in all these areas...

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