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SH-60 LAMPS MK III Seahawk

The Seahawk is a twin-engine helicopter. It is used for anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue, drug interdiction, anti-ship warfare, cargo lift, and special operations. The Navy's SH-60B Seahawk is an airborne platform based aboard cruisers, destroyers, and frigates and deploys sonobouys (sonic detectors) and torpedoes in an anti-submarine role. They also extend the range of the ship's radar capabilities. The Navy's SH-60F is carrier-based. Some versions, such as the Air Force's MH-60 G Pave Hawk and the Coast Guard's HH-60J Jayhawk, are equipped with a rescue hoist with a 250 foot (75 meter) cable that has a 600 pound (270 kg) lift capability, and a retractable in-flight refueling probe. The Army's UH-60L Black Hawk can carry 11 soldiers or 2,600 pounds (1,170 kg) of cargo or sling load 9,000 pounds (4,050 kg) of cargo.

The UH-60 Black Hawk was fielded by the Army in 1979. The Navy received the SH-60B Seahawk in 1983 and the SH-60F in 1988. The Air Force received the MH-60G Pave Hawk in 1982 while the Coast Guard received the HH-60J Jayhawk in 1992.

The SH-60B typically has a crew of three: a pilot, an airborne tactical officer (ATO) and a sensor operator, or “senso.” The ATO is responsible for the tactical situa-tion, deciding what assets will be used to prosecute the target and handling the coordination of other assets on scene. The sensor operator is an enlisted Sailor who operates the radar and magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) equipment, interprets acoustic data and performs SAR rescues. All sensos must maintain their qualifications as rescue swimmers.

LAMPS is the acronym for Light Airborne Multipurpose System. The SH-60B helicopter is configured specifically in response to the LAMPS requirement of the U.S. Navy. The LAMPS MK III system bas been designed to the Navy's sea control mission. In fulfilling the mission, LAMPS MK III will encounter a threat that has many dimensions. The threat encompasses a hostile submarine fleet and missile-equipped surface ships. The system extends the search and attack capabilities of LAMPS MK III configured destroyer, frigate, and cruiser platforms,deploying helicopters directly from these ships.

The primary missions of the LAMPS MK III are those of ASUW and ASW. Aircraft prior to BUNO 162349 are capable of the antiship surveillance and targeting (ASST) and ASW roles only. Effective with BUNO 162349 and subsequent, LAMPS MK III are equipped to employ the Mk 2 Mod 7 Penguin missile. LAMPS MK III equipped with the missile can be used in the additional role of ASUW attack.

In an ASW mission, the aircraft is deployed from the parent ship to classify, localize, and potentially attack when a suspected threat has been detected by the ship's towed-array sonar, hull-mounted sonar, or by other internal or external sources. When used in an ASUW mission, the aircraft provides a mobile, elevated platform for observing, identifying, and localizing threat platfoms beyond the parent ship's radar and/or electronic support measure (ESM) horizon. When a suspected threat is detected, classification and targeting data is provided to the parent ship via the datalink for surface-to-surface weapon engagement. Penguin missile equipped aircraft may conduct independent or coordinated attack, dependent upon the threat and tactical scenario.

Secondary missions include search and rescue (SAR), medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), vertical replenishment (VERTREP), naval gunfire support (NGFS), and communications relay (COMREL). In the VERTREP mission, the aircraft is able to transfer material and personnel between ships, or between ship and shore. In the SAR mission, the aircraft is designed to search for and locate a particular target/object/ship or plane and to rescue personnel using the rescue hoist. In the MEDEVAC mission, the aircraft provides for the medical evacuation of ambulatory and litterbound patients. In the COMREL mission, the aicraft serves as a receiver and transmitter relay station for over-the-horizon (OTH) communications between units. In the NGFS mission, the aircraft provides a platform for spotting and controlling naval gunfire from either the parent ship or other units.

Equipment of the SH-2G includes an AQS-18A dipping sonar, an ARR-84 sonobuoy receiver, AQS magnetic anomaly detector, LN-66 radar and AKT-22 data link. Also, a 600 kg rescue hoist can be installed. Small arms mountings for guns and 2.75 inch rockets are available. The SH-60F uses a variable depth sonar and sonobuoys to detect and track enemy submarines. Detection is primarily accomplished by using the AQS-13F dipping sonar which is deployed on a 1575 foot cable while the aircraft hovers 60ft above the ocean. The pilots are assisted in maintaining their 60ft day or night all weather hover by an automatic flight control system.

There are two data link antennas--one forward and one aft on the underside of the aircraft. The search radar antenna is also located on the underside of the aircraft. Other antennas (UHF/VHF, HF, radar altimeter, TACAN, ESM, sonobuoy receivers, doppler, ADF, IFF, and GPS) are located at various points on the helicopter. The left inboard, left outboard, and right weapon pylons accommodate BRU-14/A weapon/stores racks. Fittings for torpedo parachute release lanyards are located on the fuselage aft of each weapon pylon. Effective on BUNO 162349 and subsequent, the left and right inboard pylons have wiring and tubing provisions for auxiliary fuel tanks. All pylons have wiring provisions to accommodate the MK 50 torpedo. The left outboard weapon pylon can accommodate a missile launch assembly (MLA) which is used to mount the MK 2 MOD 7 Penguin air-to-surface missile.

The magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) towed body and reeling machine are mounted on a faired structure that extends from the forward tail-cone transition section on the right side of the aircraft. It is positioned above and aft of the right weapon pylon. The sonobuoy launcher is located on the left side of the aircraft above the left weapon pylon. The sonobuoy launcher is loaded from ground level outside the aircraft. Sonobuoys are pneumatically launched laterally to the left of the aircraft.

The airborne RAST system main probe and external cargo hook are on the bottom fuselage centerline, just aft of the main rotor center line. Fuel service connections, for both gravity and pressure refueling, are located on the left side of the aircraft aft of the weapon pylons. Dual-engine waterwash is manifolded from a single-point selector valve connector on the left side of the aircraft above the sensor operator's (SO) window. The long strokes of both main and tail wheel oleos are designed to dissipate high-sink-rate landing energy. Axle and high-point tiedowns are provided at each main gear. Fuselage attachments are provided above the tail gear for connection to the RAST tail-guide winch system allowing aircraft maneuvering and straightening aboard ship (41k) and for tail pylon tiedown. Emergency flotation bags are installed in the stub wing fairing of the main landing gear on both sides of the aircraft.

The easiest way to externally identify a LAMPS helicopter is the large cylindrical fairing under the nose, housing the 360-degree- a MAD, an electronic surveillance/ support measures (ESM) system, missile jamming equipment and missile plume detectors. The SH-60B can be armed with both MK 46 and MK 50 torpedoes and a single M60 machine gun. A recent SH-60B modification incorporated the ability to carry the AGM-119B Penguin missile, giving the Seahawka potent surface strike capability. The Global Positioning System has also become standard equipment on most SH-60Bs. Some LAMPS MK III Seahawksalready carry Hellfire missiles and night vision goggles. In addition, funding has been allo-cated to retrofit all SH-60Bs in the HSL community with forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensors.


The Navy’s Helicopter Master Plan prescribes reducing the variety of operational helicopters in fleet service to one primary aircraft. Plans to remaanufacture and upgrade the current fleet of Sikorsky-built H-60 S Seahawks and to procure Sikorsky’s CH-60 utility helicopter are putting the Navy closer to a achieving that goal. Within the next two decades, anyone flying in a US Navy fleet helicopte will almost assuredly be flying one of two HH-60 versions -- the SH-60R or the CH-60. The Helicopter Master Plan calls for the remanufacture of SH-60B, SH-60F and HH-60H Seahawks into a common, more versatile SH-60R configuration that will meet Navy requirements through 2015. The SH-60R will combine the traditional mission areas of the SH-60B and SH-60F, but will be more capable. With the Navy’s helicopter antisubmarine (HS) and helicopter antisubmarine light (HSL) squadrons operating the same helicopter, opportunities for adjustments in the force structure will emerge, such as reducing the number of fleet readiness squadrons that support the SH-60 fleet. The distinction between the HS and HSL communities may even disappear altogether.

The SH-60(R) Multi-Mission Helicopter Upgrade (formally called LAMPS MK III Block II Upgrade) brings improvements to the SH-60 B/F helicopters now in the fleet. The SH-60R program will give Seahawks a life extension to 20,000 flight hours, to provide a multi-mission platform capable of conducting undersea and surface warfare for the next 20 to 25 years. This upgrade improves the capability of the LAMPS MK III Weapons System to provide battle group protection and to add significant capability in coastal littorals and regional conflicts. The SH-60R’s systems will be able to deal with high numbers of air and sea contacts in a confined space, in shallow water. It will operate with a carrier group, or with a surface action group, where no air cover is available. To fight and survive in this environment, detection systems will be added to the SH-60R that include a new multimode radar, FLIR sensor, ESM system and a retrievable, active, low-frequency sonar with significantly greater processing power.

Improvements include the addition of two stores stations, a data bus, advanced low-frequency sonar, acoustic processor, multimode radar, Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) sensor, upgraded ESM system and integrated self-defense system. The MAD gear will be deleted. Cockpit mission system improvements include the addition of an upgraded mission computer, improved communications suite, high-resolution displays, programmable keysets and tactical aids. The SH-60R will carry AGM-119 Penguin antishipping missiles and AGM-114 Hellfire anti-armor missiles, as well as the current MK 46 and MK 50 ASW torpedoes and a door-mounted 7.62 mm machine gun.

The Upgrade represents a significant avionics modification to the SH-60 series aircraft enhancing USW, ASUW, surveillance and ID and power projection, supporting the operational requirements of full-dimensional protection. The Upgrade develops the Airborne Low Frequency Sonar (ALFS) and increases sonobuoy and acoustic signal processing using the UYS-2A Enhanced Modular Signal Processor. In addition, the aircraft will employ a Multi-Mode Radar (MMR), (including Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR) and imaging and periscope detection modes), an ESM upgrade, and a fully automated self protection system. The improved electronics surveillance measures system (ESM) will enable passive detection and targeting of radar sources not currently detectable. The added multi-mode radar includes an inverse synthetic aperture radar mode (permits stand-off classification of hostile threats). Additionally, the aircraft will employ a Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) sensor, with laser designator and capability to launch Hellfire missiles.

The Airborne Low Frequency Sonar (ALFS) and increased sonobuoy processing capability for the SH-60 helicopter will maintain and improve undersea warfare mission effectiveness against the quiet submarine threat in deep and shallow water environments. The ALFS project provides a dipping sonar with demonstrated capabilities typically 3 to 6 times (square miles of ocean searched per hour) the existing deep water capability. This improvement will significantly increase battle group and independent ship protection providing improved survivability and operating flexibility. ALFS provides longer detection ranges and a greater detection capability by using lower frequencies, less signal attenuation, longer pulse lengths, improved processing and increased transmission power. ALFS utilizes the Enhanced Modular Signal Processor, designated UYS-2A, for improved sonobuoy processing capability.

LAMPS MK III completed OPEVAL in February 1982 and was found to be effective and suitable. FOT&E which tested the LAMPS MK III Block I Upgrade was completed in 1993 with similar results. The Block II Upgrade entered EMD in FY93 and building on the Block I Baseline, includes major avionics modifications. The Navy plans to install this upgrade in former SH-60B, SH-60F or HH-60H airframes that have undergone "remanufacture" in the H-60 Service Life Extension Program (SLEP), the resultant aircraft to be designated a SH-60R.

Although the airframe itself is not new, the SH-60R program has considerable risk due to the reliability problems with ALFS, higher than expected false alarm rates on the Advanced Radar Detection and Discrimination (ARPDD) program of the MMR, anticipated additional problems with the MMR and incorporation of a new cockpit that will be common to the CH-60.

Remanufacture of the SH-60B fleet has started and will continue through FY 2009. Remanufacture of the SH-60F and HH-60H fleets will begin in FY 2004 and continue through FY 2012. Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor for low-rate initial production of four SH-60Rs, with Sikorsky as major subcontractor. The SH-60R is scheduled to reach operational capability in 2002.



Loral Federal Systems (Prime), Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.


Maritime twin-turbine helicopter with folding single main rotor and tail rotor dynamic system

Power Plant:

  • Two General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshaft engines coupled to a 3,400 shaft horsepower transmission
  • Each engine can produce 1,662 shaft horsepower


  • Pilot
  • Airborne Tactical Office/Copilot
  • Sensor Operator


  • Range: 450 nautical miles
  • Mission Endurance: 4 hours
  • Dash Speed: 160 knots
  • Service Ceiling: 13,000 feet DA
  • Rate of Climb (at sea level): 1,800 ft/min
  • Rate of Climb with One Engine (at sea level): 480 ft/min


Not applicable


Three external store stations for two MK-46/50 torpedoes and one AGM-119B Penguin air-to-surface missile.

Mission and Capabilities:

  • Combat-capable, multi-mission helicopter
  • Currently operates from U.S. Navy frigates and cruisers
  • LAMPS (Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System) extends the ship's horizon of engagement by 100 nautical miles or more by providing an airborne platform from which all-weather detection, classification, localization, and interdiction of submarines and surface ships can be performed.
  • Missions include: Undersea Warfare (USW), Anti-Surface Warfare (ASUW), Anti-Ship Surveillance and Targeting (ASST), as well as utility missions such as vertical replenishment and communications relay.
  • Equipped with radar, Electronic Support Measures (ESM), Global Positioning System (GPS), acoustic sensing, and on-board mission and acoustic processors.
  • Has a secure, dedicated, high-speed data link.
  • Although processing of acoustic, ESM, and sensor data can be performed aboard the aircraft, LAMPS uses the data link for real-time communication between ship and air platforms, which minimizes verbal interface and significantly increases combat effectiveness.
  • Airframe has enhanced corrosion protection, an emergency flotation system, a rescue hoist, and a 6,000 pound external cargo hook.
  • Shipboard compatibility is enhanced with automatic blade fold, manual tail pylon fold, and a Recovery, Assist, Secure, and Traversing (RAST) system.
  • An automatic flight control system provides redundant stability augmentation and autopilot capabilities.
  • Expanded night capabilities will be provided with the Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) system (available in 1996).

Program Summary:

  • First production contract signed in 1980.
  • Since 1980, 175 aircraft have been delivered; six were procured by the Spanish Navy and have been operating successfully in conjunction with NATO forces since 1988.
  • In 1989, a Block I improvement program resulted in the full system integration of GPS, self-defense systems, Penguin missile, MK-50 torpedo, and an improved sonobuoy receiver.
  • A Block II improvement program is currently being planned that will further enhance the system's versatility by adding a low-frequency dipping sonar, a multi-mode radar subsystem, and improvements to the aircraft's survivability systems, data link, communications system, and operator interfaces.


External Dimensions

Main rotor diameter 16.36m        
Main rotor blade chord 0.53m        
Tail rotor diameter 3.35m        
Tail rotor blade chord         
Distance between rotor centers         
Wing span         
Wing aspect ratio         
Length: overall, rotors turning 19.76m        
Width overall 2.36m        
Height: (to top of rotor) head 3.79m        
Overall height, (tail rotor turning) 5.18m        
Ground clearance, main rotor, turning         
Elevator span         
Width over skids         


Main rotor blades (each) 4.34m2        
Tail rotor blades (each) 0.41m2        
Main rotor disc 210.15m2
Tail rotor disc 8.83m2        
Vertical fin 3.00m2      
Horizontal tail surfaces 4.18m2   

Weights and Loadings

Weight empty (ASW) 6.191kg        
Mission fuel load (usable)         
Maximum useful load (fuel and disposable ordinance)         
Maximum takeoff and landing weight         
Maximum disc loading 47.2kg/m2        
Maximum power loading 3.92kg/m2        


Never-exceed speed (Vne)         
Maximum level speed at S/L (Dash Speed) 126 knots        
Rate of climb at S/L, OEI 213m/min        
Service ceiling 5,790m        
Service ceiling, OEI         
Hovering ceiling
Range at S/L with standard fuel, no reserves 319 nm        

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Maintained by Robert Sherman
Originally created by John Pike
Updated Monday, December 27, 1999 5:25:18 PM