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MH-60S Sea Hawk / "Knight Hawk"
CH-60S Sea Hawk / "Knight Hawk"
Fleet Combat Support Helicopter

The MH-60S Sea Hawk, informally known as the "Knight Hawk" is a twin-engine helicopter used for Anti-Surface Warfare, combat support, humanitarian disaster relief, Combat Search and Rescue, aero medical evacuation, special warfare, and organic Airborne Mine Countermeasures. The MH-60S Sea Hawk replaced the aging fleet of H-46D Sea Knight type helicopters, which led to the Knight Hawk moniker, in US Navy service. Originally designated CH-60S, the helicopter was redesignated as the MH-60S effective 6 February 2001. Many benefits were realized hence the replacement of the H-46D with the MH-60S. Cost per flight hours, mission aborts, component removals, and unscheduled maintenance actions were reduced significantly. The MH-60S with its glass cockpit incorporates active matrix liquid crystal displays, used to facilitate pilot and co-pilot vertical and horizontal situation presentations. Another major design of the MH-60S is a "common cockpit" which is shared with the MH-60R. This allows a pilot to shift from one aircraft to another with minimal re-training.

The MH-60S is a US Army UH-60L Black Hawk airframe incorporating Navy Sea Hawk marinized General Electric T-700 engines, folding rotor head and tail pylon, transmission/drive train, stabilator, and flight controls. The MH-60S shares with the Navy MH-60R helicopter a Common Cockpit, which consists of multi-functional displays, key sets, and a complex client-server based tactical data processing system. The MH-60S avionics include: dual UHF/VHF transceivers; inertial and Global Positioning System navigation; night vision device-compatible heads-up displays; and a ground proximity warning system. The aircraft has provisions installed to incorporate a CSAR mission kit consisting of tactical moving maps, Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) sensor with a laser range finder/designator, crew-served side suppression weapons, HELLFIRE missiles, forward firing guns/rockets, and an integrated self-defense system. The aircraft also has provisions installed to incorporate Airborne Mine Countermeasures (AMCM) sensors and destructors.

The MH-60S, first deployed in 2002, was developed to replace a variety of US Navy helicopters, including Boeing's H-46, Bell Helicopter Textron's H-1, and Sikorsky's H-3 and HH-60H helicopters in a variety of roles in the US Navy. The helicopter was also developed to be able to operate day or night, under adverse weather conditions, including flight in light icing. The helicopter would be compatible with all existing and future Aircraft Carriers, combat logistics force (CLF), and Amphibious Task Force (ATF) ships to include fitting inside the hangars of all CLF ships without ship alteration. The helicopter was to be capable of operating over all designated ship hover areas, both day and night, and be compatible for limited operation aboard both aviation and air capable ships proportionate with a fixed fore-to-aft wheelbase of 29 feet. Reducing the types of helicopters in the fleet inventory to 2 airframes would enable the Navy to consolidate its helicopter combat support squadrons.

Being a hybrid of the Black Hawk and the Sea Hawk, the CH-60 presented a quandary for Sikorsky's marketing strategy: what does one call the CH-60? A possibility being considered, partly in tribute to the H-46 Sea Knight that the CH-60 was to replace, was Knight Hawk. The Navy had still not assigned a type/model/series designation to the CH-60 well into its development. The next letter available in the H-60 series was "S," and was commonly used during the development period to describe the aircraft. If used, the aircraft's official designation would be CH-60S. The CH-60S designation was eventually formally assigned, and the helicopter was given the name Sea Hawk. The Navy's CH-60S helicopter was redesignated as the MH-60S helicopter effective 6 February 2001, with no formal name assigned to the type as of 2004. Knight Hawk continued to be used as an informal name for the type.




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