The specialized MH-53E mine-sweeper is assigned to U.S. Navy Helicopter Mine Countermeasures squadrons. Outfitted with enlarged fuel sponsons, the MH-53E provides long-range fleet support, and can tirelessly plumb the world's strategic waterways, detecting every known type of mine. The SEA DRAGON helicopter is equipped with the latest mine-sweeping systems, using mechanical, magnetic and acoustic sweep gear and minehunting sonar to clear vital shipping lanes. The MH-53E also performs the U.S. Navy's vertical onboard delivery (VOD) mission, transporting heavy equipment to and from ships.
The S-80TM helicopter, an international variant of the MH-53E, is in service with the Japan Defense Agency.