Keeping the MH-60Rs Flying

For past four months, HSM-77 aviation techs maintain Romeo helicopters at
100 percent mission capable status



HSM 77 Aviation electronics technicians on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln have maintained the MH-60R
maritime helicopters at 100 percent mission capable status for the past four months.

When the U.S. Fifth Fleet faces trouble from surface ships or submarines, it relies on Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM)- 77 and its MH-60R Seahawks  to keep it out of harm’s way.

To ensure the helicopters can answer the call to duty, the squadron relies on its aviation electronics technicians (ATs). For the past four months during its deployment aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, HSM- 77 ATs have maintained the MH-60R maritime helicopters at 100 percent mission capable status.

“In order for us to successfully execute our primary missions, our aircraft must be 100 percent mission capable, and our aviation electronic technicians play a critical role in ensuring our aircraft combat readiness," said Cmdr. Brent Gaut, HSM-77’s commanding officer. "Our platform and its mission systems are AT-intensive; it is crucial our ATs maintain a robust level of knowledge and subject matter expertise in order to effectively address time-critical malfunctions."

The MH-60R, commonly referred to as the Romeo, features an array of sophisticated sensors and mission systems, including secure cryptographic radio, satellite and data communications, forward-looking infrared (FLIR) imaging and the latest airborne low-frequency sonar. 

Since deploying in December 2011 with Carrier Air Wing 2, HSM- 77 has flown more than 450 sorties from the Lincoln while navigating through the Strait of Hormuz and supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in the Arabian Sea. During that time, no flights have been cancelled due to mission system failures.

Lockheed Martin integrates the MH-60R’s electronics and other systems, including the Common Cockpit Avionics Suite – the Romeo’s nerve center. Sikorsky manufactures the airframe. The Navy is streamlining its helicopter fleet by replacing six existing models with two, the MH-60R and the MH-60S. So far, Lockheed Martin has delivered more than 123 of the planned 300 MH-60Rs.

In operation since 2006, the MH-60R is the Navy’s most advanced anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare helicopter and also performs search and rescue, vertical replenishment, naval surface fire support, medical evacuation, and communications and data relay missions.

Posted April 13, 2012