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HSL-41 Receives Navy's First MH-60R Helicopters

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS051208-04
Release Date: 12/8/2005 1:55:00 PM


By Journalist 1st Class (SW) Ahron Arendes, Commander, Naval Air Forces Public Affairs

NAVAL AIR STATION NORTH ISLAND, Calif. (NNS) -- Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (Light) (HSL) 41 was the first squadron to receive two of the Navy’s new MH-60R Seahawk helicopters here Dec. 5.

The MH-60R replaces the aging SH-60B and SH-60F Seahawk helicopters, providing significant capabilities and improvements to naval aviation.

“The MH-60R takes sonobouy and Hellfire missile launching, forward-looking infrared, radar and electronic support measures capabilities from the SH-60B and adds to it the dipping sonar and torpedo launching capabilities from the SH-60F,” said Lt. Eugene Bolton, MH-60R pilot and instructor. "It also adds a 'glass cockpit.'

“Each item is also upgraded from previous airframes,” added Bolton. "Having the one airframe instead of two will make it easier for parts, maintenance, support and cost effectiveness."

Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class (AW) Steve Murdock, HSL-41 avionics technician, said he is very excited about the new airframe because of its enhanced electronics and the multiple missions.

“The MH-60R can perform satellite communications as well as vertical replenishments, anti-submarine warfare, air-to-air combat, surface-to-air combat and search and rescue,” said Murdock.

HSL-41 Commanding Officer Cmdr. Dan Fillion said he is excited about being the first squadron to receive the new airframe. HSL-41 is currently the Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) and only MH-60R squadron in the Navy.

“It’s going to be a great challenge and responsibility, but we’re up to it,” said Fillion. “I don’t think there is a better FRS in the Navy, and I think that my Sailors are going to prove it.”

HSL-41 is scheduled to receive two more MH-60Rs within a few days.

The squadron’s name will change to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 41 later this week, having received the new MH-60R, to reflect the aircraft’s multi-mission capabilities.

“I’ve flown the 'Romeo,' and it’s a lot of fun to fly,” said Bolton. “It’s very challenging. It’s computer intensive, but it’s an awesome aircraft.”

In addition, the MH-60S replaced the CH-46 airframe and will also replace the HH-60H airframe. The MH-60R and MH-60S will be the only two helicopter airframes on aircraft carriers once the Navy completes its reduction from four to two types of helicopter airframes.

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