The original Sikorsky SH-60 B Seahawk is due to be replaced with more advanced helicopter designs
The Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk is a navalized US Navy version of the US Army UH-60 Black Hawk. It made its first flight in 1979 and was adopted by the US Navy in 1984. Various versions of the SH-60 Seahawk dominate US naval aviation.
The SH-60B Seahawk deploys the LAMPS III anti-submarine ωλɾʄλɾɛ system and functions as an extension of the shipboard ωɛλρσɳ system of the warship on which it is deployed. With radar, electronic surveillance measures, magnetic anomaly detector, infra-red, and sonobuoy sensors, the SH-60B can detect and track submarines and surface ships and attack with torpedoes and missiles. The Navy received 93 SH-60Bs upgraded to Block I standard with expanded ωɛλρσɳs capability.
SH-60F Ocean Hawk Anti-Submarine ωarfare (ASW) helicopters are embarked on US Navy supercarriers to provide inner-zone defense of a carrier battle group; they also serve in plane guard, rescue, and logistics roles. The HH-60H Ocean Hawk has the primary role of conducting combat search and rescue (SAR), and insertion and extraction of special ωλɾʄλɾɛ forces.
The Navy’s MH-60R Seahawk (previously known as SH-60R Strikehawk) was first deployed in 2009. It replaced both the SH-60B and SH-60F as well as the HH-60H. The MH-60R lost the magnetic anomaly detector but features many improvements, including an increase in gross operating weight; two additional stores stations; and AYK-14 mission computer; improved cockpit displays; an AQS-22 dipping sonar; a UYS-2 acoustic processor; a multi-mode radar; an upgraded electronic surveillance system; an infra-red sensor; and an integrated self-defense system. The SH-60R entered service in 2002, and the re-manufacture programme is to continue through 2010.
The MH-60S Seahawk (unofficially known as the Knighthawk) was developed for the vertical replenishment role to replace the CH-46 Sea Knight utility helicopter. This combines the rotor, engines, tail pylon, gearbox, and rescue hoist of the UH-60 Black Hawk with the automatic flight control system of a Seahawk. The prototype MH-60S was flown in 1997 and was approved in 1998 for low-rate initial production. The YCH-60S was also undergoing development as a mine-ωarfare platform to replace the MH-53E.
Export operators of SH-60B, SH-60Fs and hybrid SH-60B/Fs comprise Australia, Greece, Japan, Spain, Thailand and Turkey. The US Coast Guard flies the HH-60J Jayhawk in the search and rescue role.
The three types currently in service are being replaced by two follow-on types – the MH-60R and MH-60S