Sikorsky delivers first replacement MH-60T airframe to U.S. Coast Guard
December 7, 2023 By Helicopters Staff
Sikorsky delivered the first of 45 replacement MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter airframes to the U.S. Coast Guard, launching a 10-year program to extend the service life of the Coast Guard’s existing MH-60T fleet into the 2040s.
The first MH-60T helicopter to receive the new airframe, consisting of nose, cabin and aft transition structures combined as a single assembly, will be rebuilt at the Coast Guard Aviation Logistics Center (ALC) in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, starting in December 2023.
Over the past 33 years, the ALC has maintained and repaired the Jayhawk helicopter fleet up to the airframe’s maximum operational life limit of 20,000 flight hours.
“We congratulate the Coast Guard ALC for the tremendous work it’s done to keep the Jayhawk fleet operating for decades,” said Sikorsky President Paul Lemmo. “Equally, we applaud the Coast Guard aircrews, whose bravery and skill flying these rugged aircraft into extreme conditions over land, lakes and sea have saved thousands of lives.”
According to the Coast Guard, the H-60 Jayhawk medium range recovery helicopter fleet has saved more than 11,900 lives during more than 48,300 search and rescue missions since 1990, accumulating more than 730,430 flight hours.
“The MH-60T is an important part of the execution of many Coast Guard missions, including search and rescue, and our Service Life Extension Program is vital in maintaining this capability,” said Rear Adm. Michael Campbell, Coast Guard Director of Acquisition Programs and Program Executive Officer. “Delivery of this first newly manufactured hull by Sikorsky is an important step in this effort.
“In addition to this partnership with Sikorsky for the new hulls, it is important to note the talented workforce at the Coast Guard Aviation Logistics Center in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, who will be executing the SLEP work,” Campbell said. “Their skills make this project possible.”
After more than 30 years in operation, the fleet of 45 MH-60T helicopters is approaching its useful life limit of 20,000 flight hours, with a per aircraft average of 16,000 hours. Sikorsky explains, to extend the service life of these aircraft, the Coast Guard ALC will remove all dynamic (moving) components, digital cockpit, mission systems and engines, then rebuild each aircraft around an all-new airframe.
Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, is under a US$374 million contract to deliver all 45 MH-60T airframes to the Coast Guard ALC through 2027 at a rate of 12 per year. On October 31, 2023, the Coast Guard authorized Sikorsky to begin full rate production with the fourth airframe.