Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light [HSL-49]
Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light FOUR NINE (HSL-49), located at Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, California, is one of seven Pacific Fleet Light Airborne Multi-purpose System (LAMPS) MK III Squadrons. The "Scorpions" of HSL-49 were established on March 23, 1990. The squadron flies the world's most technically advanced helicopter, the SH-60B SEAHAWK, and has a complement of approximately 45 officers and 210 men and women.
The mission of HSL-49 is to provide combat ready SH-60B helicopter detachments, each consisting of one or two aircraft, to operate on board and supplement a surface ship's ability to execute its mission. Detachments normally operate from Oliver Hazzard Perry (FFG 7) class frigates, Spruance (DD 963) class destroyers, and Ticonderoga (CG 47) class cruisers.
Although the SH-60B can conduct all missions completely autonomously, its unique directional data link integrates the aircraft sensors and weapon systems with those of any LAMPS MK III capable ship. Using the advanced LAMPS MK III technology, the SH-60B, in this integrated mode, extends the Anti-Surface and Anti-Submarine Warfare capabilities of the parent ship well beyond the horizon. "Scorpion" detachments have conducted operations from surface ships configured with and without the LAMPS MK III weapon systems. In addition to operations conducted independently, detachments have been an integral part of operations conducted with Carrier Battle Groups, Amphibious Assault Groups, and Surface Action Groups.
The "Scorpions" first deployment began in November, 1990, with Detachment One deploying aboard the USS Ford (FFG 54). During Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm and subsequent operations in the Arabian Gulf regions, HSL-49 detachments demonstrated the true versatility of the LAMPS MK III weapon systems and the SEAHAWK helicopter as an anti-surface, mine search and multi-mission combat support aircraft. Scorpion detachments have also played an integral role in several CNO special projects including "Outlaw Seahawk" radar evaluation, "Sea Slam" missile demonstrations, and MK-50 advanced torpedo fleet introduction testing. HSL-49 has distinguished itself in the LAMPS community and in rotary wing aviation.
During 1995 the men and women of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light FOUR NINE distinguished themselves in providing sea-going LAMPS MK III detachments throughout the Pacific and Asian regions in support of Operations SOUTHERN WATCH and VIGILANT SENTINEL. They contributed significantly to the future of the LAMPS MK III weapon system through participation in the Chief of Naval Operations Demonstration Project Sea Slam, evaluation of inter-service Electronic Identification testing and interactive tactical development with Carrier air Wing ELEVEN. The Squadron's tactical prowess was displayed in a 100 percent torpedo excercise qualification rate resulting in the award of Commander, Helicopter Anti-Submarine Light Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet's "TOP TORPEDO Award" for 1995. The dedication and industry of each member contributed to the Squadron winning the Sikorsky "Most Improved Maintenance Program" Award for 1995.
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