US Coast Guard orders five additional new MH-60T search and rescue helicopter hulls

According to information published on July 7, 2021, the U.S. Coast Guard ordered five additional new MH-60T search and rescue helicopter hulls from Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation of Stratford, Connecticut, on July 6, 2021, to support the service’s ongoing service life extension of its original fleet of 45 MH-60Ts.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan Pierce, an aviation survival technician at Coast Guard Sector San Diego, deploys from an MH-60T helicopter during a search and rescue demonstration in Glorietta Bay, in Coronado, Calif. (Picture source U.S. Coast Guard)

The U.S. Coast Guard has ordered a total of 30 new hulls on the existing indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract, with this newest delivery order valued at just over $34 million. The initial order of 25 hulls, worth nearly $207 million, was placed in January 2021. Delivery of the first new hull is anticipated in early 2023, with subsequent hulls scheduled for delivery at a pace of approximately one per month starting in late 2023.

The U.S. Coast Guard’s MH-60 helicopters, which have been in service since 1990, are reaching the end of their service life. This order provides new MH-60T hulls with 20,000 hours of service life to support the Coast Guard’s 11 statutory missions, including drug interdiction, environmental protection and search and rescue.

Hull replacement is just one component of the MH-60T sustainment effort. In addition, some critical dynamic components, such as main rotor blades and electrical wire harnesses, will also be replaced. Aircraft production – the assembly and installation of dynamic components on the hulls – will be completed at the Coast Guard Aviation Logistics Center in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

The MH-60T is a multi-mission, twin-engine, medium-range helicopter manufactured by Sikorsky and operated by the United States Coast Guard for search and rescue, law enforcement, military readiness, and marine environmental protection missions. This helicopter has a normal cruising speed of the MH-60T is 135 to 140 knots (250 to 259 km/h) and the aircraft is capable of reaching 180 knots (333 km/h) for short durations. It can fly at 140 knots (259 km/h) for six to seven hours.

The MH-60T has a radar for search/weather that gives its nose a distinctive look. A forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensor turret can be mounted below its nose. It can carry three 120 US gal (454 L) fuel tanks with two on the port side rack and one on the starboard side rack. The starboard side also carries a 600 lb (2.67 kN) capacity rescue hoist mounted above the door. The hoist has 200 ft (61.0 m) of cable. It uses the NAVSTAR Global Positioning System as its primary long-range navigational aid, using a Collins RCVR-3A radio to simultaneously receive information from four of the NAVSTAR system's 18 worldwide satellites. 

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