Email this Article Email   

CHIPS Articles: Air Power Superiority for the Warfighter

Air Power Superiority for the Warfighter
MH-60R Makes Successful First Flight
By Renee Hatcher - July-September 2002

The MH-60R successfully completed the first flight of the total weapon system, packaged in the first totally remanufactured SH-60B to MH-60R aircraft on April 4.

Rear Adm. Michael McCabe, director of the Navy’s Air Warfare Division, recently testified before the Senate Armed Services seapower subcommittee that the Navy will restructure its helicopter forces around two "linchpin airframes," the MH-60R and MH-60S both produced by the team of Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation (SAC) and Lockeed Martin Systems Integration (LMSI).

The MH-60R, which performs undersea warfare and anti-surface warfare, will replace the existing fleet of SH-60B and SH-60F helicopters. The Navy decided last year to shift the MH-60R program from remanufacturing existing Navy H-60 airframes to producing new aircraft.

The MH-60R brings tremendous war-fighting capability to the fleet, including the Multi-Mode Radar, AQS-22 airborne low frequency dipping sonar, Electronic Support Measures, Forward Looking Infrared Radar, data link, acoustics, Integrated Self Defense package and much more.

The demonstration included flights by an MH-60R and an MH-60S. The aircraft share a new common cockpit, which results in lower acquisition, training and logistics costs for the U.S. Navy.

Today there are six MH-60R aircraft in testing; three test aircraft are at Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division Patuxent River, Md. for development and operational tests (includes the 2 NMH-60R prototypes), and three test aircraft are at Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in Owego, N.Y. for integration and test.

The MH-60R program is worth approximately $7 billion and encompasses a quantity of approximately 243 aircraft. (Two NMH-60R prototypes; four remanufactured SH-60B to MH-60R test articles, and three LRIP remanufactured aircraft; and the remainder will be all new production MH-60Rs.)

The first production next-generation AIM-9X Sidewinder was unveiled May 1 during a ceremony at Raytheon facilities in Tucson, Ariz. This delivery marks the beginning of an 18-year production plan to provide revolutionary dogfight capabilities to the warfighter.

"Air-to-air tactics as they exist today will no longer be the same," said Capt. Dave Venlet, Naval Air Systems Command program manager for Air-to-Air Missile Systems (PMA-259). "This is an advanced system design, which provides the warfighter with the firepower to ensure air superiority against any threat that exists today."

AIM-9X has under gone an extensive flight testing program, which has been complemented by an accredited modeling and simulation capability. The missile is fully reprogrammable in the field to allow for enhancements and growth in response to advances in threat capabilities.

The program has had an unprecedented 18 successes in 19 guided-flights and a total of 37 successes in 39 launches in less than two years.

The missiles being delivered today will be initially used for pilot training, and for at-sea and forward deployments within the next year. Initial operating capability for the U.S. Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps is planned for the summer of 2003.

The E2-C Hawkeye 2000 will soon become the first U.S. military aircraft to be equipped with the new Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) system.

The system, already operational in some of the U.S. Navy’s surface ships, will play a key role in integrating and networking the information systems of military forces, a concept referred to as Network Centric Warfare (NCW)– that is conducting warfare utilizing networked information resources.

The CEC is a vital component of NCW because of its ability to enable surface ships and aircraft to share data with one another using the information systems each already has onboard. As the sensors on each communicate their data, the CEC system creates a composite track that allows an entire group of naval assets in a battle group to see a highly accurate single integrated air picture (SIAP) of a target or potential threat in real-time. In this environment CEC will become one of the critical elements in effectively responding to rapidly evolving threats around the globe.

At NAS Patuxent River, Md. On May 13 through 16, the Hawkeye 2000 flew several events that focused on the integration of the CEC with E2-C weapons systems. The major goal of this round of testing is evaluation of the interoperability between CEC and data links. Testing events included interoperability, DDS signal intercept range testing, HE2K target tracking in a CEC battle group environment and composite ID functionality.

Additional testing will continue at Patuxent River through the fall of 2002. After an initial FOTE period, it is anticipated that the system will be turned over to VAW 117 when they deploy with the Nimitz Battle Group later this year.

The long term benefits of integrating CEC into the E-2 platform are expanded capabilities that will better enable the aircraft to be an important focal point between air and sea assets, as well as preparing the aircraft for future inclusion in the Theatre Balistic Missile Equation.

TAGS: ITAM

CHIPS is an official U.S. Navy website sponsored by the Department of the Navy (DON) Chief Information Officer, the Department of Defense Enterprise Software Initiative (ESI) and the DON's ESI Software Product Manager Team at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific.

Online ISSN 2154-1779; Print ISSN 1047-9988
Hyperlink Disclaimer