U.S. Navy's MH-60R Helicopter Scores Numerous Firsts During Recent Tests
OWEGO, NY, 15-APR-03 -- Two U.S. Navy MH-60R helicopters equipped with new weapon and mission systems recorded numerous firsts during a three-week, developmental test schedule at the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC) in the Caribbean. The tests primarily evaluated the radar, acoustics and electronic surveillance measures (ESM) systems - developed for the Navy through Lockheed Martin - to verify the expected performance of each system individually and as an integrated unit. The aircraft logged over 125 flight hours during the developmental tests.
These firsts are significant in demonstrating the maturing of the systems, and positions the program for successful completion of developmental tests this October, said Jeff Bantle, vice president and general manager, Multi-Mission Solutions. Once these advanced radar, acoustics and electronic surveillance systems are operational, the MH-60R will have the threat detection capabilities required to provide the battle group with the extended surface and subsurface protection needed for the 21st Century.
At AUTEC, the multimode radar (MMR) completed several tests with positive performance ratings. The MMR is a high-performance, coherent radar that provides inverse synthetic aperture radar (ISAR) imaging, acoustic detection and periscope and small target detection to provide the MH-60R with superior long- and short-range search capabilities.
The MMR achieved its first detection of a submarine. This was the first simultaneous detection of the same target by numerous sensors, demonstrating the reliability of the integration work to permit all of the subsystems to respond as one system to identify threats in real time. The MMR system also produced the first ISAR display of a surfaced submarine. Prior to AUTEC, the radar was used to identify test targets; this was the first time the radar was tested against a fleet submarine.
Several firsts confirmed the acoustic systems' ability to serve as a decision aid to assist operators in identifying threats. Some of the firsts recorded during AUTEC testing included the first processing of a self-launched sonobuoy to successfully transmit acoustic information to a crew; the first underwater communications operation, which verified the sonar capability to communicate threats to underwater assets; and the first airborne low frequency sonar (ALFS) dip using the new Lockheed Martin commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) acoustic processor on an instrumented range. The depth range of the ALFS dips demonstrated the MH-60R's anti-submarine warfare capabilities in deepwater and littoral regions.
The AUTEC tests also marked the first time ALFS and radar sensors worked together to track the same target, and the first time an integrated buoy and dipper were processed, resulting in a coherent passive and active picture.
Another significant MH-60R first is the successful radar, ISAR, ESM and acoustics data transmission to a U.S. Navy ship. The MH-60R data link permits the aircraft and a surface ship to operate as an integrated warfare platform. The shared data between the ship and the aircraft gives the ship's crew the ability to receive and analyze acoustic and radar data in real time, while permitting the aircrew to concentrate on their mission.
All of the systems and subsystems tested at AUTEC were developed and integrated through Lockheed Martin. The information gathered during this test phase is being further analyzed in preparation for TECHEVAL scheduled for October.
The MH-60 platform is the centerpiece of the U.S. Navy's Helicopter Concept of Operations (CONOPS). CONOPS outlines the plan to reduce the number of platforms needed to fulfill the Navy's helicopter missions from the seven platforms currently in service to two- the MH-60R and the MH-60S.
Lockheed Martin Systems Integration - Owego is the prime systems integrator for the MH-60R, and developed the common cockpit and architecture for the MH-60S and the MH-60R. The commonality between platforms will increase pilot interoperability while simplifying the Navy's helicopter inventory and reducing training and logistics costs by as much as 50 percent. The common avionics will expand the mission capabilities of the MH-60 platform to include vertical replenishment, armed helo and airborne mine countermeasures.
With more than 30 years of experience as the prime systems integrator for United States and foreign military maritime helicopter programs, Lockheed Martin has partnered with every major airframe manufacturer and delivered more than 300 maritime helicopters worldwide. Lockheed Martin currently provides systems integration work on the United Kingdom's Royal Navy Merlin; U.S. Air Force HH-60D Combat Search and Rescue helicopter; Army Special Operations MH-60K and MH-47E; Air Force Special Operations MH-53M and the Spanish Navy SH-60B MKIII.
Lockheed Martin Systems Integration - Owego is a leader in providing advanced-technology products, services and systems integration solutions for defense, civil and commercial customers worldwide. Systems Integration - Owego is a business segment of Lockheed Martin Corporation with headquarters in Bethesda, Md.