Flight test, which began April 12 at Sikorsky Aircraft Corp, encompasses the airworthiness of the newly designed and developed Carriage, Stream, Tow, and Recovery System (CSTRS), and is the beginning of Captive Carry testing of the Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS).
The ALMDS is an Airborne Mine Countermeasures (AMCM) system being developed for employment on the MH-60S helicopter. This system uses lidar technology to detect mines in shallow waters. Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for ALMDS.
The CSTRS is an AMCM system that allows the carriage of the ALMDS on the MH-60S. The CSTRS includes a BRU-14 for mounting the ALMDS. This BRU-14 can be replaced with a tow body guide to allow the carriage, and stream and recovery of towed AMCM systems.
Once Sikorsky completes Captive Carry testing in Stratford, the aircraft will depart for Patuxent River, Maryland and then Panama City, Florida for additional testing later this spring.
The Airborne Mine Countermeasures (AMCM) version of the Sikorsky Aircraft MH-60S helicopter first took to the skies in July 2003.
The MH-60S and its counterpart, the Sikorsky MH-60R, form the basis for the Navy's Helicopter Concept of Operations (CONOPS) and will replace all other existing Navy helicopters by 2010. Together, the aircraft will provide a full array of maritime helicopter capabilities, including anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface ship warfare (ASuW), medevac, logistics, search and rescue, and Airborne Mine Countermeasures (AMCM).
The MH-60S is a baseline BLACK HAWK configuration with SEAHAWK engines, rotor system and dynamic components, including the SEAHAWK's automatic rotor blade folding system, folding tail pylon, improved durability gearbox, rotor brake and automatic flight control computer. This aircraft is the latest in the H-60 family of aircraft whose ruggedness, survivability and versatility have made the H-60 the world's standard utility helicopter.
The AMCM derivative adds an operator's station to the cabin, additional internal fuel stores, and towing capability to the aircraft. The AMCM capable MH-60S will provide the Carrier Battle Groups (CVBG) and Amphibious Ready Groups (ARG) with organic airborne mine countermeasures (OAMCM) capability. Initial Operational Capability for the AMCM variant is planned for calendar year 2005.
Sikorsky designs and manufactures Navy MH-60S and MH-60R aircraft and is responsible for the mechanical and electrical modifications to the airframe. Lockheed Martin is the systems integrator for the MH-60R and provides the cockpit, which is common to all MH-60S and MH-60R helicopters. In addition, Lockheed Martin is the developer and integrator for the common console that supports AMCM operational missions.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacturing and service. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX), of Hartford, Conn., which provides a broad range of high-technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.