MH–60S Seahawk "Knighthawk"

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Product Type:

Twin-Engine Combat Support
and Mine Countermeasures Helicopter

Using Service (US):


Program Status:

In Full Rate Production (FRP)
Last 8 helicopters purchased in FY 2015

Prime Contractor:

Airframe: Sikorsky Aircraft (Lockheed Martin)

The MH-60S Seahawk aka Knighthawk

About the MH-60S Seahawk:

The Sikorsky MH-60S Seahawk (aka Knighthawk) Fleet Combat Support Helicopter is a versatile twin-engine helicopter used to maintain forward deployed fleet sustainability through rapid airborne delivery of materials and personnel - to support amphibious operations through search and rescue coverage and to provide an organic airborne mine countermeasures capability. The MH-60S is powered by two General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshaft engines, each delivering 1,800 shp. The helicopter can carry 12 troops or 6 stretchers. The maximum cargo payload is 9,000 pounds external and/or 4,000 pounds internal, but limited to 10,000 pounds of cargo in total.

In 1997, the Navy decided to find a replacement for its aging fleet of CH-46/HH-46 Sea Knight helicopters. After sea demonstrations using a converted UH-60, the Navy awarded contracts for the development of the CH-60S in 1998. This variant first flew in January 2000 and began flight testing later that year. In February 2001, the CH-60S was redesignated MH-60S to reflect the planned multi-mission use. The advantage of the MH-60S as compared to the CH-46 are lower cost per flight operating hour, fewer mission aborts, fewer component removals, and fewer unscheduled maintenance actions.

A major design feature of the MH-60S is the so-called 'common cockpit' shared with the MH-60R Seahawk Multi-Mission Helicopter. This allows pilots to shift from one aircraft to another with minimal re-training. The common cockpit is designed and supplied by Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in Owego, New York. The common cockpit features the following: four 8x10 inch (20.3 x 25.4 cm) full-color flight and mission displays; the Rockwell Collins AN/ARC-210 full digital communications suite; the Northrop Grumman LN-100G Inertial Navigation System/Global Positioning System (INS/GPS); the Ku-band Tactical Common Data Link (TCDL) Hawklink System (supplied by Harris Corporation); a mass memory data storage unit; a ruggedized integrated mission computer; and a flight management computer and operations software.

The sensors package on the MH-60S includes the Raytheon AN/AAS-44C(V) forward-looking infrared (FLIR) system for expanded night vision and Hellfire targeting capability; the Raytheon AN/AQS-20A towed minehunting sonar system; the Exelis Organic Airborne and Surface Influence Sweep System (OASIS); the Northrop Grumman AN/AES-1 Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS), which uses pulsed laser light and streak tube receivers (housed in an external equipment pod) to image the entire near-surface area potentially containing mines; and military-off-the-shelf (MOTS) based mission and flight management computers.

The MH-60S is also equipped with the Raytheon AN/ASQ-235 Airborne Mine Neutralization System (AMNS), which neutralizes moored and bottom mines. Countermeasures on the MH-60S include the Northrop Grumman AN/APR-39A(V)2 Radar Warning Receiver (RWR); Orbital ATK AN/AAR-47 Missile Approach Warning System; BAE Systems AN/ALQ-144 infra-red countermeasures system; and BAE Systems AN/ALE-39 chaff and flare decoy dispenser.

The MH-60S is designed to operate from amphibious assault ships, including the LHA 6 America Class and Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), as well as the U.S. Navy's fast combat supply ships (USNS).


The MH-60S Seahawk is equipped with two M240 7.62mm machine guns and two GAU-21 .50 caliber machine guns and can be equipped with sixteen AGM-114 Hellfire missiles or four rocket pods for 2.75 inch (70mm) Hydra-70 rockets. For more detail, see specifications below.

MH-60S Production Forecast:

A 15-year MH-60S production forecast is available through Forecast International's Platinum Forecast System, which includes a breakout of total market unit and value statistics by manufacturer and end-user. This real-time service also includes information on all prime and subcontractors, contract awards, worldwide inventories, a complete program history, and a rationale detailing the outlook of the program. A 10-year MH-60S production forecast is also available in report format through Forecast International's Rotorcraft Forecast service.


The MH-60S conducts vertical replenishment (VERTREP), day/night ship-to-ship, ship-to-shore, and shore-to-ship external transfer of cargo; internal transport of passengers, mail and cargo, vertical onboard delivery; air operations; and day/night search and rescue. Organic Airborne Mine Countermeasures (OAMCM) has been added as a primary mission for the MH-60S. Five separate sensors will be integrated into the MH-60S helicopter and will provide Carrier Battle Groups and Amphibious Readiness Groups with an OAMCM capability.

FY 2020 & FY 2021 - MH-60S DoD Program:

This data is available in Forecast International's U.S. Defense Budget Forecast, a comprehensive analytical database containing historical and forecast budget figures, year-to-year funding comparisons, congressional budget markups, program justification documents, and much more.

Source: U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Sikorsky, General Electric Co.,
Raytheon, BAE Systems, and Northrop Grumman.

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Rotorcraft Forecast:

Complete and detailed information, including production forecast data, is provided in our Market Intelligence Service: Rotorcraft Forecast.

Forecast International Budget Data:

With Forecast International's U.S. Defense Budget Forecast, you not only get the latest program news, the DoD funding, worldwide inventories and planned quantities, long range forecasts, but most important – an expert's rationale for all programs and the overall market.

DoD Spending in FY 2014, FY 2015, FY 2016, FY 2017 and FY 2018 + 5-year forecast

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