Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light FIVE ONE [HSL-51]
Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light FIVE ONE (HSL-51), located at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan, is the newest Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System (LAMPS) MK III squadron in the Navy, and the only LAMPS squadron to be forward deployed. HSL-51's mission is to provide combat ready helicopter detachments for deployment aboard ships of the Forward Deployed Naval Forces based in Yokusuka, Japan. The "Warlords" fly two types of helicopters: The SH-60B SEAHAWK and the UH-3H SEA KING. HSL-51 is comprised of approximately 270 officer and enlisted personnel, arranged into six SH-60B LAMPS Mk III detachments and one SH-3H VIP transportation detachment.
As the largest aviation squadron stationed at NAF Atsugi HSL-51 is a major player in NAF Atsugi operations, and is an integral part of all U.S. Navy battle groups. The squadron occupies a very unique niche - both here at Atsugi and out at sea. Not part of CVW-FIVE, HSL-51 detachments operate the SH-60B Seahawk from surface combatants: cruisers, destroyers, and frigates. While CVW-FIVE deploys with the USS Kitty Hawk, a detachment of HSL-51 is deployed anytime any one of these surface combatants sails out of the local area. At the same time HSL-51 maintains a shore contingent at all times to support its deploying detachments.
HSL-51 antisubmarine warfare detachments operate the SH-60B "Seahawk" helicopter. The SH-60B is the world's most technologically advanced helicopter, capable of performing multiple missions, including Surface Warfare, Under Sea Warfare, Search and Rescue, Medical Evacuation, Communications Relay and Vertical Replenishment. SH-60B detachments deploy aboard FFG-7, DD-963 and CG-47 class ships, operating as an integral part of these ships undersea and missile targeting capability. Coperating independently or under ship control, the SEAHAWK serves as a remote platform for sensor deployment, data processing and display, and the delivery of anti-submarine and anti-surface weapons, including the AGM-119B penguin and Hellfire air-to-surface missiles. The ships Recover Assist, Securing and Traversing system allows the SEAHAWK to launch and recover safely in rough weather conditions up to sea state five.
HSL-51 detachments are comprised of either one or two SH-60B helicopters, four to six pilots, two to three aircrewmen, and approximately 18 helicopter maintenance technicians. Each detachment is capable of carrying out sustained combat operations performing missions in Anti-Submarine Warfare, Anti-Surface Warfare, Search and Rescue, and Vertical Replenishment (VERTREP). The Seahawk can be configured to carry Mk-46 and Mk-50 torpedoes for anti-submarine duties, and the Penguin Missile for anti-surface warfare. Two HSL-51 helicopters are specially modified to carry the AN/AAS-44(V) Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR)/Laser Designator system, the Hellfire missile, and the GAU-16 .50 caliber machine gun. A secure datalink between the ship and the helicopter allows the ship's crew to view all information from the helicopter's sensors, giving the ship an advanced, remote sensor platform from which to survey the tactical ocean environment.
Not only are the Warlords the only forward deployed LAMPS squadron, they also have the distinction of being the only composite LAMPS squadron in the Navy. In addition to flying SH-60B's, the HSL-51 also flies the UH-3H Sea King helicopter to provide logistics support to Commander Seventh Fleet. The UH-3H is a specially configured VIP transport helicopter which is also capable of performing Search and Rescue, Medical Evacuation, and Vertical Replenishment missions. HSL-51 deploys a UH-3H detachment aboard USS BLUE RIDGE (LCC-19) in support of Commander, U.S. Seventh Fleet.
HSL-51 is not only the largest LAMPS squadron, but also the one with the highest operations tempo in the fleet. When the National Command Authority needs support in operations, exercises, and emergencies, they look to the Warlords to carry out the mission. The men and women of HSL-51 have to be ready to answer the call at all times, anywhere in the world.
Between 1991 and 1999 the Warlords participated in over 225 major operations and exercises including CARRAT, COBRA GOLD, FOAL EAGLE, SOUTHERN SWING, SHAREM, and TANDEM THRUST. In keeping with their rapid response nature, the Warlords have recently supported Seventh Fleet contingency operations off of Korea and East Timor. HSL-51 has conducted operations in waters ranging from the Arabian Gulf to the Islands of Hawaii, with more than 15 different countries. HSL-51's incredible and unmatched combat readiness is the result of their aggressive training, dropping over 160 torpedoes, and firing eight Hellfire and two Penguin missiles. Over 18,000 hours were flown at night, accounting for more than 35% of the total time flown. Most of the flight hours were deployed hours, exceeding 34,000 hours in foreign environments. While at sea, the aircrews have completed over 25,000 day and 19,000 night landings in the demanding small deck environment. Finally, some 30 fellow Sailors are indebted with their lives for open water rescues and Medical Evacuations that the Warlords tirelessly provided, day or night.
In 1999, the squadron's six LAMPS detachments were embarked a total of 955 days on 30 separate detachment deployments. The aircraft participated in 22 separate exercises and operations throughout the Seventh and Fifth Fleet operating areas. LAMPS detachments flew more than 6,500 hours, of which more than 4,000 were flown. In 1999 HSL-51, the squadron achieved an aviation milestone with the completion of 51,000 mishap free flight hours. HSL-51 accomplished this feat in the short seven year span since being established. To put this all into focus, one must realize that there are only 61,320 hours in a seven-year period. This means that the Warlords have spent 5.8 of the last 7 years with an aircraft in flight.
In its short history, the list of awards and Kudos that have been placed upon HSL-51 is substantial. The Warlords have received the COMNAVAIRPAC Battle "E" Award three times in 1993, 1996, and 1998. The CNO has awarded the Warlords the Arnold J. Isbell for Under Sea Warfare Excellence in 1995, 1997, and 1998. The Warlords have been awarded the Aviation Safety Award twice, once in 1997 and again in 1998.
The Warlords of HSL-51 demonstrated the highest levels of training and combat readiness by winning the coveted Battle "E" Award for 1999. The Battle "E" Award is presented annually to the squadron with the highest overall combat readiness rating. This particular Battle "E" is awarded among the Pacific Fleet LAMPS Mk III squadrons, and HSL-51 has been the recipient three of the past four years. Throughout 1999, the Warlords took the lead in developing tactics and procedures for SH-60B helicopters working with Maritime Air Support Operation Centers in the Korean area of responsibility. They also expanded the tactical horizon of the SH-60B FLIR and Hellfire missile systems in their joint operations with the U.S. Army Apache helicopters in South Korea. HSL-51 continued to excel in undersea warfare (USW) with participation in multiple USW exercises, conducting testing of sensors and tactics as well as weapons evaluations. The Warlords also demonstrated their flexibility by supporting floating mine demolition training and SEAL team insertions. Detachments from HSL-51 took part in every major exercise in the Pacific Theater, as well as Operation Southern Watch in the Persian Gulf, and actual operations in support of U.N. activities in East Timor. Their seven detachments each averaged over 160 days underway in 1999. On average, HSL-51 deployed a detachment every 11 days and averaged three detachments underway on any given day of the year.
The Warlords of HSL-51 were awarded the 1999 Lockheed Martin Superior HSL Maintenance Award by Commander of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Light Wing Pacific Fleet. This prestigious award is presented annually to the west coast HSL squadron who leads the Pacific Fleet in deployed aircraft availability and readiness. The competition was keen among the seven HSL squadrons assigned to the Pacific Fleet, but HSL-51's superior team effort clearly established them as the best. In addition to maintaining their 11 SH-60B's and two UH-3H aircraft in superior material condition, the Warlords have been lauded as the most proactive squadron in their wing. HSL-51 has made many significant and lasting contributions to improve readiness and aircraft availability fleet wide. They developed and evaluated numerous new maintenance techniques including new corrosion preventative liquids, improved seals for external panels, new engine water wash procedures and new administrative checklists.
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