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US Navy gets 50th MH-60R helicopter from Lockheed

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The MH-60R is the new entrant in the family of SEAHAWK® helicopters. A Sikorsky Photo

OWEGO, USA (BNS): The US Navy has received a mission-ready MH-60R helicopter from Lockheed Martin to carry out anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare tasks.

The new entrant in the SEAHAWK® family of maritime helicopters, this is the 50th MH-60R helicopter delivered to the US Navy, Lockheed said.

The chopper is designed and manufactured by Sikorsky while Lockheed has equipped it with advanced mission systems like digital cockpit, multi-mode radar, acoustic sonar suite, long-range infrared camera and other advanced sensors to detect, identify, track and engage surface and subsurface targets.

The chopper has also been fitted with a self defense system to protect itself from missile threats.

The latest MH-60R, formally delivered to the US Navy on February 3, will be flown to the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida. It will join the Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron Seven Zero squadron. The squadron plans to deploy 11 MH-60R helicopters on board the USS George H.W. Bush carrier strike group (CVN 77) in 2011.

To date, the US Navy has established and equipped four MH-60R squadrons, with plans to fill out 16 more through the purchase of 300 such aircraft.

Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky aim to deliver up to 27 fully-refurbished MH-60R helicopters to the US Navy this year under a five-year contract to supply 139 MH-60Rs by 2013.

The MH-60R is a multi-mission naval helicopter designed to replace SH-60B and SH-60F helicopters used by the US Navy. The chopper is designed to operate from frigates, destroyers, cruisers and aircraft carriers.

Besides undertaking anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare missions, the MH-60Rs can also involve in search and rescue missions, surveillance, naval gunfire support, communications relay, logistics support and vertical replenishment.

The helicopter can carry a range of weapons, including GM-114 Hellfire anti-surface missiles, ATK mk50 or mk46 active / passive lightweight torpedoes and a 7.62mm machine gun.

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