The re-designation of Airborne Use of Force [AUF] HH-65Cs to MH-65Cs reflects the installation of armament and a significantly upgraded communications package. the re-designation of AUF HH-65Cs to MH-65Cs reflects the installation of armament and a significantly upgraded communications package. Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) Jacksonville was the first operational Coast Guard unit to employ the MH-65C and have a total of 10 assigned to replace the MH-68As. Since then, Air Stations Port Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Savannah, New Orleans and Miami have transitioned to MH-65s with the entire fleet converted by FY12.
The H-65 conversion and sustainment project upgrades 95 aircraft and procures seven new helicopters to extend the H-65 Short Range Recovery (SRR) helicopters’ service life in the fleet through 2025. The H-65 series Dolphin has been in the Coast Guard’s inventory since 1984, operating from air stations ashore and from flight-deck equipped cutters to fulfill search and rescue; law enforcement; and tactical transport mission requirements.
The converted MH-65C/D Dolphins have obsolete components replaced with up-to-date technology, a robust Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) suite, and other new equipment. >The H-65 conversion and sustainment project is accomplished in six complementary “discrete segments.” The Coast Guard upgrades the aircraft at the Aviation Logistics Center, Elizabeth City, N.C., where engineers and technical authorities on the H-65 product line install, test and evaluate the new equipment. Each segment upgrades and modernizes major components and sub-components and sets a baseline for future upgrades in the helicopters’ mission capabilities.
Discrete Segment 1
- replaces the helicopters’ LTS 101 engines with digitally controlled Turbomeca Arriel 2C2CG engines, adding 40 percent more power
- fully operational since late in Fiscal Year (FY) 2007.
Discrete Segment 2 (National Capital Region Air Defense)
- Coast Guard purchased seven new aircraft (raising the total number in the fleet to 102)
- provides mission capability to identify and intercept unknown, non-compliant, light aircraft operating within the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone
Discrete Segment 3
- adds Airborne Use of Force (AUF) capability
- equips aircraft with a 7.62mm general purpose machine gun and a .50 caliber precision rifle to disable engines on a non-compliant go-fast vessel, and provide fire support for Coast Guard boarding teams
- re-designated as MH-65C
- first production MH-65C replaced the MH-68 "Stingray" helicopter at the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON), the Coast Guard’s dedicated airborne counter-narcotics unit at Jacksonville, Fla.
Discrete Segment 4
- builds upon the MH-65Cs’ configuration by replacing additional obsolete subsystems, including the aircrafts’ navigation system and gyros, with digital Global Positioning System and inertial navigation systems
- re-designated as MH-65D
Discrete Segment 5
- provides helicopters with the Ship Handling, Securing and Traversing System (SHSTS) system, an advanced mechanical interface for recovering, securing and moving the aircraft aboard the National Security Cutter (NSC)
- develops one prototype and nine additional low-rate production ship handling systems that will be fully compatible with the NSCs’ flight decks.
Discrete Segment 6
modernizes remaining obsolete subsystems including:
- replacing analog automatic flight control with a digital system
- installing a digital weather radar system
- installing digital “glass” cockpit instruments (the Common Avionics Architecture System), similar to those installed in the Coast Guard’s upgraded MH-60T Jayhawk Medium Range Recovery (MRR) helicopters
- re-designated as MH-65E
The MH-65C/D aircraft makes an increasingly important contributions to Coast Guard aviation vital mission area. With more powerful engines, the Dolphins’ aircrew will be able to conduct search and rescue missions even more safely and effectively. AUF-equipped MH-65Cs already have conducted interdictions of real-world suspected narcotic traffickers.