Selasa, November 08, 2011

LM develops MH-60R variant

The MH-60R for the RAN is being developed without a dipping sonar but with increased range and a reconfigured cabin.

Lockheed Martin is developing a cheaper variant of the MH-60R naval combat helicopter ordered for the RAN without a dipping sonar but with increased range and a reconfigured cabin.

George Barton, the company’s director of naval helicopter programs, mission systems and sensors division, told ADM’s Julian Kerr in Owego, New York State last week that Denmark had been briefed on the project and a number of other countries were interested.

These are understood to include Qatar.

Barton said the US Navy, which has now taken delivery of 108 of an eventual 300 MH-60R, was not involved in the project which was being self-funded by Lockheed Martin.

The new variant would retain its air to surface warfare; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR); and search and rescue capabilities.

The dipping sonar and associated equipment could be retrofitted if required.

Removal from the cabin of the dipping sonar, the sonobuoy launcher and the acoustic processor rack would increase to 10 the number of passengers able to be carried compared to three with the sonar equipment in position, and eight with just the dipping sonar body temporarily removed.

Barton confirmed the proposed variant, now in the concept design stage, would be cheaper than the current production model, for which Australia is the first international customer.

Although range depended on a number of factors, an increase of about 20 per cent was likely on a typical mission out to 120 nautical mile, requiring an on-station time of 1 hour 45 minutes. - Julian Kerr Owego, NY

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