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SH-60B Seahawk - Design

The SH-60B Seahawk was a single main rotor, twin-engine helicopter, manufactured by United Technologies Corporation, Sikorsky Division. The 21,000 pound SH-60B Seahawk was powered by two 1940 SHP turbo-shaft engines and had a maximum speed of 180 knots. With an endurance of three to four hours depending on its mission profile, the Seahawk can patrol out to a range in excess of 100 NM. The SH-60B can carry a substantial amount of cargo for vertical replenishment missions, either internal or slung from its 6000-lb test cargo hook.

The helicopter had a 20 tractor type canted tail rotor, a controllable stabilator, conventional fixed landing gear, emergency flotation , an external cargo hook, a rescue hoist, and bomb racks for carrying and launching external stores. In addition, it was equipped with a flight-rated auxiliary power unit, a sonobuoy launch system, an anti-ice system, a fire-extinguishing system, an enviromental control system, an automatic flight control system, a single-point pressure refueling system, a helicopter in-flight refueling system, and the necessary avionics and instrumentation for instrument flight and mission accomplishment.

The Seahawk helicopter differs from other helicopters in the Navy inventory in that, the Recovery Assist, Secure and Traverse (RAST) landing system was used. This system allows for recovery of aircraft in high sea states (6 degrees pitch, and 15 degrees roll). During RAST operations, the helicopter lowers a messenger cable that was connected to the ship's haul down cable. The messenger cable was raised and locked into the helicopter's RAST probe. Four thousand PSI of force was applied to the haul down cable which guides the probe into the locking beams of the Rapid Securing Device (RSD). The RSD also serves as the motive force to traverse the helicopter into and out of the hanger. The main rotor blades and tail pylon can be folded for storage. Movement of the SH-60B by hand was prohibited except during emergencies due to the 15,500 pound empty weight. In addition, the helicopter can operate from non-RAST equipped combatants and a variety of other naval ships.

The SH-60B typically had a crew of three: a pilot, an airborne tactical officer (ATO) and a sensor operator, or "senso." The ATO was responsible for the tactical situation, deciding what assets will be used to prosecute the target and handling the coordination of other assets on scene. The presence of two pilots enables the helicopter to be operated safely at all hours and in most weather conditions. The sensor operator was an enlisted Sailor who operates the radar and magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) equipment, interprets acoustic data and performs SAR rescues. All sensos must maintain their qualifications as rescue swimmers. Although the normal crew was three, the Seahawk can carry two passengers for transfer.

Helicopters deployed aboard ships were supported by approximately 30 shipboard personnel during flight operations, including the Anti-Submarine Tactical Air Controller (ASTAC), Helicopter Control Officer (HCO), Landing Signalmen Enlisted (LSE), Safety Officers, chock-and-chain handlers, fire party members, phone talkers, and "grapes" - the fuel handlers so named for the purple color of their flight deck jerseys. The professionalism and enthusiasm of these sailors, together with the knowledge and experience of the bridge team, directly contribute to the safe operating environment.

In an USW mission, the aircraft was deployed from the parent ship to classify, localize, and potentially attack when a suspected threat had been detected by the ship's towed-array sonar, hull-mounted sonar, or by other internal or external sources. When used in an ASUW mission, the aircraft provides a mobile, elevated platform for observing, identifying, and localizing threat platforms beyond the parent ship's radar and/or electronic support measure (ESM) horizon. When a suspected threat was detected, classification and targeting data was provided to the parent ship via the datalink for surface-to-surface weapon engagement. Penguin missile equipped aircraft may conduct independent or coordinated attack, dependent upon the threat and tactical scenario.

Secondary missions include search and rescue (SAR), medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), vertical replenishment (VERTREP), naval gunfire support (NGFS), and communications relay (COMREL). In the VERTREP mission, the aircraft was able to transfer material and personnel between ships, or between ship and shore. In the SAR mission, the aircraft was designed to search for and locate a particular target/object/ship or plane and to rescue personnel using the rescue hoist. In the MEDEVAC mission, the aircraft provides for the medical evacuation of ambulatory and litterbound patients. In the COMREL mission, the aicraft serves as a receiver and transmitter relay station for over-the-horizon (OTH) communications between units. In the NGFS mission, the aircraft provides a platform for spotting and controlling naval gunfire from either the parent ship or other units.

The flexibility of today's LAMPS aircraft and crews to perform these missions had placed LAMPS detachments in high demand. The aviators and their maintenance crews were some of the most highly trained professionals in the Naval service today. Employing a secure datalink and equipment allowing flight operations in any weather condition, LAMPS detachments were critical elements in the data collection/weapons delivery arena. Today's LAMPS detachments possess the necessary capabilities to operate offensively in the highly dynamic surface and sub-surface environments, or defensively in the high density air warfare environment as a key part of a Carrier Battle Group, Amphibious Assault Group or Surface Action Group. Additionally, these detachments can operate independently in conjunction with surface ships configured with or without LAMPS MK III weapons systems. In any role, the SH-60B with its unique sensor suite and integrated weapon system, extends and expands the warfighting capabilities of the parent ship well beyond the horizon.

SH-60B Aircraft prior to BUNO 162349 were capable of the antiship surveillance and targeting (ASST) and ASW roles only. Effective with BUNO 162349 and subsequent, LAMPS MK III were equipped to employ the Mk 2 Mod 7 Penguin missile. LAMPS MK III equipped with the missile can be used in the additional role of ASUW attack. This recent SH-60B modification incorporated the ability to carry the AGM-119B Penguin missile, giving the Seahawka potent surface strike capability. When used in an ASUW mission, the aircraft provides a mobile, elevated platform for observing, identifying, and localizing threat platfoms beyond the parent ship's radar and/or electronic support measure (ESM) horizon. When a suspected threat was detected, classification and targeting data was provided to the parent ship via the datalink for surface-to-surface weapon engagement. Penguin missile equipped aircraft may conduct independent or coordinated attack, dependent upon the threat and tactical scenario. The Penguin was launched at a surface target acquired on the helicopter's radar. Once launched it becomes a "fire-and-forget" weapon which automatically homes in on its target. The Global Positioning System had also become standard equipment on most SH-60Bs. Some LAMPS MK III Seahawks already carry Hellfire missiles and night vision goggles. In addition, funding had been allocated to retrofit all SH-60Bs in the HSL community with forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensors.

There were two data link antennas--one forward and one aft on the underside of the aircraft. The search radar antenna was also located on the underside of the aircraft. Other antennas (UHF/VHF, HF, radar altimeter, TACAN, ESM, sonobuoy receivers, doppler, ADF, IFF, and GPS) were located at various points on the helicopter.

The left inboard, left outboard, and right weapon pylons accommodate BRU-14/A weapon/stores racks. Fittings for torpedo parachute release lanyards were located on the fuselage aft of each weapon pylon. Effective on BUNO 162349 and subsequent, the left and right inboard pylons have wiring and tubing provisions for auxiliary fuel tanks. All pylons have wiring provisions to accommodate the MK 50 torpedo. The left outboard weapon pylon can accommodate a missile launch assembly (MLA) which was used to mount the MK 2 MOD 7 Penguin air-to-surface missile.

The magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) towed body and reeling machine were mounted on a faired structure that extends from the forward tail-cone transition section on the right side of the aircraft. It was positioned above and aft of the right weapon pylon. The sonobuoy launcher was located on the left side of the aircraft above the left weapon pylon. The sonobuoy launcher was loaded from ground level outside the aircraft. Sonobuoys were pneumatically launched laterally to the left of the aircraft.

The airborne RAST system main probe and external cargo hook were on the bottom fuselage centerline, just aft of the main rotor center line. Fuel service connections, for both gravity and pressure refueling, were located on the left side of the aircraft aft of the weapon pylons. Dual-engine water wash was manifolded from a single-point selector valve connector on the left side of the aircraft above the sensor operator's (SO) window.

The long strokes of both main and tail wheel oleos were designed to dissipate high-sink-rate landing energy. Axle and high-point tie downs were provided at each main gear. Fuselage attachments were provided above the tail gear for connection to the RAST tail-guide winch system allowing aircraft maneuvering and straightening aboard ship and for tail pylon tie down. Emergency flotation bags were installed in the stub wing fairing of the main landing gear on both sides of the aircraft.

Hinged doors on each side of the cockpit provide normal access to and from that station. A sliding door on the right side of the fuselage provides access to and from the cabin.

The sensor operator's (SO) console was located in the cabin, as well as provisions for a removable instructor/passenger seat, a passenger seat, and a litter. The ATO station was located on the left side of the aircraft cockpit. It was equipped with, or offers access to, a full complement of aircraft flight controls and instruments.

The overhead console, located above the pilot and ATO stations, contains aircraft system control panels involving circuit breakers, console/instrument light controls, external light controls, fire-extinguisher controls, engine controls, and several miscellaneous controls. The lower console was located in the cockpit between the pilot and ATO stations. It contains the ATO avionics, AFCS, and communications controls. The lower console was accessible by either the ATO or the pilot. The ATO's keyset was located on the lower console. The multipurpose display (MPD) was located on the instrument panel between the ATO flight instrument panel and a caution/advisory panel. The collective on the ATO's side telescopes to allow improved cockpit ingress and egress. In addition, locations were provided in the cabin for two fire extinguishers, two first aid kits, two canteens, a relief bag container, a crash axe, a map case, and a back-up messenger kit.

The cabin was arranged with the SO station on the left. facing forward. Most of the components of the avionics system were physically located in the SO console rack, situated aft of the ATO's seat, and in the mission avionics rack (MAR), situated aft of the pilot's seat. The SO console contains the necessary controls and indicators for the SO to perform the missions of antisurface warfare (ASUW) and antisubmarine warfare (ASW). To the right of the SO station seat was a seat which accommodates an instructor or, if desired, an additional passenger. The primary passenger seat was on the aft cabin bulkhead, located on the right side. The hoist controls and hover-trim panel were located adjacent to the cabin door. The cargo hook hatch was located forward of the RAST probe housing.

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Page last modified: 13-05-2015 20:18:12 ZULU