First New Production MH-60R Helicopter Arrives at Lockheed Martin
OWEGO, NY, 12-OCT-05 -- The first “new production” MH-60R helicopter to be purchased by the U.S. Navy has arrived at Lockheed Martin in Owego. Over the next five months, engineers and technicians will transform the aircraft into the most advanced anti-submarine and surface-ship attack helicopter ever built for the U.S. Navy.
“The mission systems we will install aboard this and subsequent MH-60R aircraft are of an order-of-magnitude more advanced than the airborne sensors and electronics we integrated for the Navy in the 1980s,” said Jeff Bantle, vice president and general manager of Multi-Mission Solutions for Lockheed Martin Systems Integration – Owego. “We and our partners at Sikorsky and the Navy have worked as an integrated team to develop this aircraft into a sophisticated weapons system that will help protect the U.S. fleet well into the 21st century.”
The MH-60R aircraft was flown from Stratford, CT, where it was built and initially flight tested by Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation.
The Navy is expected to order as many as 254 MH-60R aircraft through 2015, with up to 30 aircraft passing through Lockheed Martin’s systems integration facility at Owego in peak production years. The multi-mission MH-60R will gradually replace two Navy helicopters flying today — the SH-60B and the SH-60F aircraft — by combining both helicopter missions onto a single platform.
The principal mission systems to be installed aboard the new aircraft include a multimode radar to identify and track boats or ships, a dipping sonar and acoustics to find submarines more easily, and warning systems to alert the crew to any threats against the aircraft. The new systems will give the crew greater awareness of their surroundings when they fly the helicopter hundreds of miles from its host ship, and also will reduce pilot and operator workload by automating many functions, such as mission planning, that currently are performed manually.
During the past two years, the Navy has put MH-60R test aircraft through thousands of hours of systems flight testing, both at sea and over land. Final operational test results are to be announced later this year. Contracts to build 13 MH-60R helicopters have been authorized to date. Full rate production contracts from the Navy are expected in spring 2006.
Lockheed Martin is the systems integrator for the MH-60R and provides the Common CockpitTM avionics suite, which is common to all MH-60R and MH-60S helicopters. Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation designs and manufactures the MH-60R and MH-60S aircraft and is responsible for the mechanical and electrical modifications on the airframe.