The Sikorsky H-60 series, which named BLACK HAWK, is medium weight multi-purpose helicopter. It has severed in different countries for 20 years and counting. Just in US Army, over 1,500 BLACK HAWKs now serve with active duty and National Guard units. BLACK HAWK can carry different equipments for kinds of missions, including transportation, infiltration, anti-submarine, rescue, electronic warfare, Artillery support, Command and Control and civil usage.
In order to fit all kinds of missions, variations are derived from the basic BLACK HAWK. Let`s go and see through look through them.
The UH-60A, basic variation of H-60s, first flown in October 1974, was developed as result of the Utility Tactical Transport Aircraft System (UTTAS) program. The UTTAS was designed for troop transport, command and control, and reconnaissance, to replace the UH-1 Series "Huey".
In August 1972, the US Army selected the Sikorsky (model S-70) YUH-60A and the Boeing Vertol (model 237) YUH-61A (1974) as competitors in the UTTAS. The Boeing YUH-61A had a four-bladed composite rotor, was powered by the same General Electric T700 engine as the Sikorsky YUH-60A, and could carry 11 troops. In December 1976, Sikorsky won the competition, subsequently named the Black Hawk.
The UH-60A, with a crew of three, can lift an entire 11-man fully-equipped infantry squad in most weather conditions. It can carry four litters, by removing eight troop seats. Both the pilot and co-pilot are provided with armor-protective seats. This armor can withstand hits from 23mm shells. It also has a cargo hook for external lift missions. The Black Hawk has provisions for door mounting of two M60D 7.62mm machine guns on the M144 armament subsystem. Using the M130 general purpose dispenser, can disperse chaff and infrared jamming flares. A composite titanium and fiberglass four-bladed main rotor is powered by two General Electric T700-GE-700 1622 shp turboshaft engines. The speed is up to 163 mph (142 knots).
The UH-60A had been prouduced since 1978 to 1989. In October 1989, a power train upgrade resulted in a model designation change from UH-60A to UH-60L. The UH-60L provides 24 percent more power than the original 1970 UH-60A model. The Army had procured 483 UH-60L models for a total UH-60 acquisition of 1,463 aircraft. The Army is calling for the delivery of 60 aircraft per year. The engines of UH-60L were upgraded to two General Electric T700-GE-701C 1890 shp turboshaft engines, and an improved durability gear box was added. The T700-GE-701C has better high altitude and hot weather performance, greater lifting capacity, and improved corrosion protection.
Elements of the Army UH-60A/L Blackhawk fleet will begin reaching their sevice life goal of 25 years in 2002. In order to remain operationally effective through 2025-2030 the aircraft will go through an inspection, refurbishment, and modernization process that will validate the structural integrity of the airframe, incorporate improvements in sub-systems so as to reduce maintenance requirements, and modernize the mission equipment and avionics to the levels compatible with Force XXI and Army After Next (AAN) demands.
A Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) is planned for the UH-60 beginning in 1999. Primary modernization areas for consideration are: increased lift, advanced avionics (digital communications and navigation suites), enhanced aircraft survivability equipment (ASE), increased reliability and maintainability (R & M), airframe service life extension (SLEP), and reduced operations and support (O & S) costs.
Many variations of BLACK HAWK are based on UH-60s. UH-60 Firehawk is to provide the UH-60 with both a wartime and peacetime fire fighting capability by use of a detachable 1,000 gal. belly tank. Qualification issues include design and testing required to maintain the combat capabilities of the UH-60 Black Hawk and the safe flight envelope of the aircraft with the tank.
EH-60A is an Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) variant. It has a unique external antenna, designed to intercept and jam enemy communications. It is powered by two General Electric T700-GE-700 1622 shp turboshaft engines.
EH-60B version was a Stand-Off Target Acquisition System designed to detect the movement of enemy forces on the battlefield and relay the information to a ground station.
The UH-60Q MEDEVAC helicopter provides significant enroute patient care enhancements. It provides a 6 patient litter system, on-board oxygen generation, and a medical suction system. It has a state-of-the-art medical interior that can accomodate a crew of three and up to six acute care patients. The interior also features these additional capabilities: Oxygen Generating Systems, NVG Compatible Lighting Throughout, Environmental Control System, Medical Equipment, Patient Monitoring Equipment, Neonatal Isolettes.
The MH-60G Pave Hawk is a modern, medium-lift, special operations helicopter for missions requiring medium-to-long-range infiltration, exfiltration, and resupply of special operations forces on land or sea. The MH-60G is equipped with forward-looking infrared radar to better enable the crew to follow terrain contours and avoid obstacles at night. It is a highly modified variant of the UH-60A Black Hawk, offers increased capability in range (endurance), navigation, communications, and defensive systems. The power plant of MH-60G are 2 General Electric T700-GE or T700-GE-01C engines, thrust 1,560-1,630 shaft horsepower each. The armament are two 7.62mm miniguns. The crew are Two officers (pilots), two enlisted (flight engineer and gunner). The Air Force has 55 Pave Hawks in the active component and 25 in the Reserves.
Length: 64.8 ft (17.1 meters)
The MH-60G navigation equipment includes: Integrated navigation computer system consisting of a ring-laser inertial navigation system, Global positioning system, Doppler navigation system, TACAN, KG-10 map display unit, Weather avoidance radar. The interfaced forward looking infrared (FLIR) system and a voice altitude warning system to provide enhanced terrain clearance operations. A Personnel Locator System (PLS) is installed to enhance locating and identifying ground forces for extraction.
All the MH-60Gs have an automatic flight control system to stabilize the aircraft in typical flight altitudes. They also have instrumentation and engine and rotor blade anti-ice systems for all-weather operation. It is also added on internal cargo tie down rings, a rescue hoist, and an "H-bar" installation are standard equipment as insertion/extraction devices for hoist, fast rope, rappelling, stabo, and SPIE rig operations. Pave Hawks are equipped with a rescue hoist with a 250-foot cable with a 600-pound capacity. External loads can be carried on an 8,000-pound capacity cargo hook. To extend their range, the Pave Hawks are equipped with a retractable in-flight refueling probe and internal auxiliary fuel tanks. For shipboard operations and to ease air transportability Pave Hawks are equipped with folding rotor blades and tail stabilator. Communication systems include secure HF, UHF, HAVE QUICK UHF, and FM radios as well as SATCOM and digital data burst system.
The self defense eletronic system includes the ALQ-144 infrared countermeasures (IRCM) system, Hover infrared suppression system, improved flare and chaff dispensing systems. Defensive Armaments include a forward cabin-mounted 7.62mm miniguns firing either 2,000 or 4,000 rpm and cabin-mounted .50-cal machine guns. With the addition of the external stores support system (ESSS), the aircraft can carry fixed forward-firing armaments for use as a defensive and escort aircraft. Each ESSS wing can carry two 7 or 19-shot, 2.75-inch folding fin aerial rocket pods or dual 20mm cannons/.50-cal machine guns. So, the MH-60G can be successfully employed in the low-to-medium threat environment. It will operate at low altitudes over land and water.
The MH-60G can be deployed by airlift, sea-lift, or self-deployed. A C-5 can transport a maximum of five MH-60Gs. The aircraft can be broken down for shipment in less than 1 hour and off-loaded and rebuilt at the location in less than 2 hours. The optimum deployment package is four MH-60Gs via C-5. Due to the rapid tear down and buildup times, it is normally faster to air transport the aircraft rather than self-deploy when distances exceed 1,500 NM using aerial refueling, or 1,000 NM using ground refueling.
Self-deployment utilizing aerial refueling assets requirements of MH-60Gs are: One tanker aircraft, plus one spare, per four MH-60Gs. Two tanker aircraft, plus one spare, per six MH-60Gs.
The MH-60G has a choice of internal auxiliary fuel tanks for extended range operations. The aircraft can be equipped with either the single, 117-gallon tank, offering 3.3 hours of aircraft operations, or the dual, 185-gallon tanks, offering 4.5 hours of unrefueled operations.
As the standard special operations version, MH-60K is capable of providing long-range airlifts far into hostile territory in adverse weather conditions. Modifications include two removable 230 gallon external fuel tanks, two .50 cal. machine guns or two M134 7.62mm "miniguns", an air-to-air refueling probe, and an external hoist. A new avionics suite includes interactive Multi-Function Displays (MFDs), Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR), digital map generator, and terrain avoidance/terrain following multi-mode radar. It has full shipboard operability.
The UH-60L can be adapted to the attack mission by attaching weapons pylons to both sides of the fuselage, named MH-60L. These can then be fitted with Hellfire missiles or other weapon systems. The MH-60L is powered by two General Electric T700-GE-701C 1890 shp turboshaft engines. Photo here.
The SH-60 Seahawk is the naval BLACK HAWK for anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue, drug interdiction, anti-ship warfare, cargo lift, and special operations. The Navy's SH-60B Seahawk is an airborne platform based aboard cruisers, destroyers, and frigates and deploys sonobouys (sonic detectors) and torpedoes in an anti-submarine role. They also extend the range of the ship's radar capabilities. The crew of SH-60B include two pilots, one tactical operator and one sonar operator. The armament includes AGM-114 Hellfire, AGM-119B Penguin anti-ship missle by Norway, Mk-46, Mk-50 and Mk-64. The Navy received the first SH-60, a SH-60B Seahawk in 1983. A SH-60B of Japanese Navy.
The other variation, SH-60F is carrier-based. SH-60F was deployed in 1988. The SH-60F has Dual UHF/VHF/FM radios, HF radio and Tactical data link. The navigation system includes TACAN, TACNAV, Doppler radar, Radar altimeter and GPS. The tactical Data Systems of SH-60F are Dual, redundant mission computers, Digital data bus architecture (MIL-STD-1553B), Multi-function keypad access, Cockpit video displays.
The main difference between SH-60B and F is the way they fight against submarines. The B version mainly depends on the sonars on the CG and DDGs to find the targets, then it flies to the suspect area, using 25 tubes sonar buoyages and magnetism detector to make sure the target position for following combat using torpedo. The F is used for short range anti-submarine purpose around the carrier and depends on its own AQS-13F suspensory sonar to detect the submarine.
The Coast Guard's HH-60J Jayhawk`s job is about search and rescue, offshore law enforcement, drug interdiction, aids to navigation, environmental protection. They are equipped with a rescue hoist with a 250 foot (75 meter) cable that has a 600 pound (270 kg) lift capability, and a retractable in-flight refueling probe. The HH-60J Jayhawk is deployed in 1992.
CH-60S would be the most modern medium weight multi-purpose helicopter of US Navy, contract signed and first flight in 1997. It is based on the Navy Helo Master Plan, aims to achieve huge manpower and cost savings while modernizing the fleet for Navy. The CH-60S is a ship-qualified multi-purpose helicopter. It has the UH-60 Black Hawk's cabin and cargo-handling features, including external stores pylons, and the folding tail rotor pylon and powered blade-folding features of the SH-60 Sea Hawk. This low-risk design will pay off in outstanding cost efficiencies. Cost per flight hour is expected to be less than half that of the CH-46D, which the CH-60 replaces. And, the CH-60S and its advanced version will replace all H-46, H-3, MH-53E, HH-60H and HH-1N in the first 15 years of 21st century. We should be aware of that CH-60S have to do the anti-mine jobs of MH-53E as well as the cargo works.
From amphibious and combat search and rescue to battlegroup vertical replenishment, the CH-60 will deliver all the advanced capabilities the Navy needs. For example, its EFIS glass cockpit will incorporate active matrix 8-by-10-inch LCDs, to facilitate pilot and copilot presentations. For extended search and rescue missions, an ESSS-equipped CH-60 can carry up to four external tanks. Its defensive systems include a full complement of radar warning receivers, chaff and flare systems, and infrared countermeasures. And for combat, it can fly with four forward-firing weapons, M-60s, M-240s, GAU-17s and GAU-19s.
The CH-60S can carry a crew of four, plus 13 passengers. It has a total payload capacity of up to 10,000 lb. Internally, it can hold two 40 x 48 x 40-in. Navy triwall pallets, weighing a total of up to 4,000 lb. And it can handle up to 9,000 lb on an external hook. Right now the Navy is going to buy 241 CH-60Ss.
We must mention the newest naval SEAHAWK SH-60R right now, because CH-60S and SH-60R projects are held together in order to cut down the cost of maintaining these two new helicopters. So 60% of the body stryture of the CH-60S and SH-60R are the same, and the maintaining missions can be done by the same troop and equipments. The training of the manpower is easier, too.
The SH-60R will replace the SH-60B, F and SH-2G. The contract was signed in 1993 after the improvement projects for SH-60B and F were merged. The navy would like to have SH-60Rs, most of them would not be new production but converted from the B, F and HH-60Hs. The new suspensory sonar would be AN/ASQ-22 by Ratheyon, with a 2,550 feet rope. The 25 tubes sonar buoyages of B version is kept onboard. For hunting enemy ships, SH-60R gets a AN/APS-147 ISAR radar. AYK-14 mission processing system can gather all kinds of info from the sensors onboard and display to the crew in one multi-function screen. With its help, the crew can easily tell which ship is using radar to aim at their aircraft. Cuting the weight, the magnetism detector of B version is canceled, but can be added when needed. The crew, power plant and armament are the same as SH-60B.
The H-60s` unit cost varies with the version. For example, the unit cost of the Army's UH-60L Black Hawk is $5.9 million while the Air Force MH-60G Pave Hawk is $10.2 million. China bought some BLACK HAWKs for high altitude usage. Photo here.
Length: 64 feet 10 inches (19.6 meters)
Height: Varies with the version; from 13 to 17 feet (3.9 to 5.1 meters)
Rotor diameter: 53 feet 8 inches (16.4 meters)
Weight: Varies; 21,000 to 23,000 pounds (9,450 to 10,350 kg)
Speed: 180 knots maximum
Range: Generally about 380 nautical miles (600 km); range becomes unlimited with air refueling capability.