Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, has delivered the inaugural MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter airframe of the 45 replacements to the U.S. Coast Guard, marking the commencement of a 10-year initiative.
The company’s press release revealed that this program aims to elongate the service life of the Coast Guard’s existing MH-60T fleet, ensuring their continued participation in life-saving missions well into the 2040s.
The first MH-60T helicopter to undergo airframe replacement—comprising nose, cabin, and aft transition structures as a unified assembly—will be reconstructed at the Coast Guard Aviation Logistics Center (ALC) situated in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, starting December 2023.
Recognizing the Coast Guard ALC’s exceptional efforts in maintaining and repairing the Jayhawk helicopter fleet over the last 33 years, Sikorsky President Paul Lemmo praised the ALC’s dedication in ensuring the operational longevity of these essential aircraft. He also commended the Coast Guard aircrews for their valor and expertise in conducting missions in challenging environments, aiding in the rescue of thousands of lives.
Since 1990, the H-60 Jayhawk fleet has played a pivotal role in search and rescue missions, saving over 11,900 lives across more than 48,300 missions and accumulating in excess of 730,430 flight hours, as per the Coast Guard’s records.
Rear Adm. Michael Campbell, Coast Guard Director of Acquisition Programs and Program Executive Officer, emphasized the MH-60T’s significance in executing various Coast Guard missions and highlighted the importance of the Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) in preserving this capability. He underscored the cooperation with Sikorsky in delivering the newly manufactured hulls and acknowledged the expertise of the workforce at the Coast Guard Aviation Logistics Center, crucial in executing the SLEP work.
With an average of 16,000 flight hours per aircraft and nearing the useful life limit of 20,000 flight hours after over three decades of operation, the fleet of 45 MH-60T helicopters necessitates this life extension.
The Coast Guard ALC will execute the Service Life Extension Program by replacing dynamic components, digital cockpit, mission systems, and engines and reconstructing each aircraft around a brand-new airframe.
Under a $374 million contract, Sikorsky is tasked with delivering all 45 MH-60T airframes to the Coast Guard ALC by 2027, maintaining a delivery rate of 12 per year.
The Coast Guard greenlit Sikorsky to commence full-rate production with the fourth airframe on October 31, 2023.