The SH-60F operates primarily off of aircraft carriers, providing close-in anti-submarine protection of the carrier battle group, and search and rescue (SAR) support during carrier flight operations. During anti-submarine operations the SH-60F employs a powerful dipping sonar, an arsenal of sonobuoys, and Mk 50 torpedoes. The SH-60F is also used extensively for logistics, transporting personnel, mail, and supplies between ships in the carrier battle group. A variant of the SH-60F, the HH-60H is designed specifically as a Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) and Naval Special Warfare platform.
The SH-3H Sea King has been replaced by the SH-60F Sea Hawk helicopters as the anti-submarine warfare helicopter. The transition was completed in the mid 1990s. The SH-60F has the means to detect, localize, track and attack enemy submarines as well as provide the task force with utility support. The SH-60F crew consists of two pilots and two sensor operators, one of whom is a fully qualified search and rescue swimmer who is ready at all times for rescue operations.
The SH-60F is a close relative of the SH-60B. The missions are essentially the same, with one major difference. The SH-60B is designed to operate as an integral fighting unit aboard specifically configured OLIVER HAZARD PERRY (FFG-7) class Guided Missile Frigates, SPRUANCE (DDG-963) class Destroyers, KIDD (DDG-993), class Guided Missile Destroyers and TICONDEROGA (CG-47) class Guided Missile Cruisers. The SH-60F operates from the decks of every conventional and nuclear powered Aircraft Carrier in the U.S. Fleet. The SH-60F's primary missions include all SH-60B missions (Surface and Under Sea Warfare, Search and Rescue, Medical Evacuation, Vertical Replenishment , Naval Surface Fire Support, and Communications Relay) while adding "Plane Guard." This is a rescue mission that is airborne any time the host Aircraft Carrier is launching or recovering aircraft.
The other primary difference between the SH-60F and its SH-60B counterparts revolves around how the aircraft accomplishes its Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) mission. While the SH-60B launches sonobuoys and operates as an independent unit, the SH-60F working in tandem with other SH-60F's, will hover over a spot and lower a dipping sonar to listen for submarines.
The SH-60F is also capable of deploying and monitoring sonobuoys which are launched from the sonobuoy tubes mounted in the cabin. A sonobuoy is an expendable device which transmits acoustic information to the helicopter. This information may be automatically relayed to the support vessel in the task force by a data link system. The SH-60F carries a wide array of ordnance, including the MK-46 or MK-50 torpedoes and M-60D machine guns.
The SH-60F defends the carrier against subsufarce contacts inside of 50 miles and can be tasked to prosecute submarines out to 150 miles. The SH-60F is capable of launching and processing both active and passive sonobuoys, but prosecution of hostile submarines is usually accomplished through the use of its active/passive dipping sonar. The SH-60F uses a variable depth sonar and sonobuoys to detect and track enemy submarines. Detection is primarily accomplished by using the AQS-13F dipping sonar which is deployed on a 1575 foot cable while the aircraft hovers 60ft above the ocean. The pilots are assisted in maintaining their 60ft day or night all weather hover by an automatic flight control system. The SH-60F is highly mobile and can "jump dip" to reposition its sonar for tracking evasive submarines. Active dipping sonar in combination with Mk-46 and Mk-50 torpedoes make the SH-60F the platform of choice for prosecuting hostile submarines.
The SH-60F uses a variable depth sonar and sonobuoys to detect and track enemy submarines. Detection is primarily accomplished by using the AQS-13F dipping sonar which is deployed on a 1575 foot cable while the aircraft hovers 60ft above the ocean. The pilots are assisted in maintaining their 60ft day or night all weather hover by an automatic flight control system.
There are two data link antennas--one forward and one aft on the underside of the aircraft. The search radar antenna is also located on the underside of the aircraft. Other antennas (UHF/VHF, HF, radar altimeter, TACAN, ESM, sonobuoy receivers, doppler, ADF, IFF, and GPS) are 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 are 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 is used to mount the MK 2 MOD 7 Penguin air-to-surface missile.
The magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) towed body and reeling machine are mounted on a faired structure that extends from the forward tail-cone transition section on the right side of the aircraft. It is positioned above and aft of the right weapon pylon. The sonobuoy launcher is located on the left side of the aircraft above the left weapon pylon. The sonobuoy launcher is loaded from ground level outside the aircraft. Sonobuoys are pneumatically launched laterally to the left of the aircraft.
Logistics missions include mail and passenger runs, medical Evacuations (MEDEVAC) and vertical replensihment (VERTREP). Both the SH-60F and HH-60H are capable of all logistics missions, but the HH-60H is better suited for most missions because of its larger internal capacity. the cabin of the "H" can be fitted with 10 passenger seats while the "F" is able to carry only 3 passengers in addition to its crew. both aircraft have an external cargo hook which is capable of carrying 6,000 pounds and is used for heavy loads or bulky loads that cannot be fit into the cabin.
The airborne RAST system main probe and external cargo hook are on the bottom fuselage centerline, just aft of the main rotor center line. Fuel service connections, for both gravity and pressure refueling, are located on the left side of the aircraft aft of the weapon pylons. Dual-engine waterwash is 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 are designed to dissipate high-sink-rate landing energy. Axle and high-point tiedowns are provided at each main gear. Fuselage attachments are provided above the tail gear for connection to the RAST tail-guide winch system allowing aircraft maneuvering and straightening aboard ship (41k) and for tail pylon tiedown. Emergency flotation bags are installed in the stub wing fairing of the main landing gear on both sides of the aircraft.
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