MH-60R's Technology Includes Applications for Other Aircraft

03 February 2003

The technology developed for the Sikorsky MH-60R naval multi- mission helicopter, whose cockpit and mission systems are being developed by Lockheed Martin, could have multiple applications for other platforms and even adapt to advantages from other aircraft, according to officials from both companies.

A potential growth avenue for the MH-60R is the capability to acquire parts, such as rotor blades, from Sikorsky's S-92 helicopter program, Bob Kenney, Naval Hawk program manager for Sikorsky, told Defense Daily last week. Kenney said the S-92 was designed from the start to have a ""dual use in reverse"" relationship with the H-60 family of helicopters.

The MH-60R is designed as a replacement for the LAMPS Mk. III SH-60B and SH-60F helicopters currently in Navy service. Originally, the MH-60R program constituted a remanufacture of the existing fleet of SH-60Bs. However, after conducting its own cost analysis, the US Navy decided to opt for a new procurement plan that involved the construction of 243 new helicopters for an estimated value of $7 billion. The four test and four low-rate initial production (LRIP) aircraft are converted B-model helicopters. However, the LRIP 2 aircraft will be newly built MH-60Rs, essentially serving as the first lot of new production aircraft.

The MH-60R incorporates a series of structural improvements over the current SH-60B, including provisions for the Raytheon [RTN] AQS-22 low-frequency dipping sonar and a forward-looking infrared radar system, and an integrated defensive suite. Sikorsky also hopes to add fly-by-wire systems, which could add 300 pounds of savings on the aircraft, and incorporate the use of composite materials on the airframe. Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin successfully completed the first flight of the MH-60R in April.

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