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RESCUE HELICOPTERS

Mission

The MH-60's and MH53's primary wartime missions are infiltration, exfiltration and resupply of special operations forces in day, night or marginal weather conditions. Other missions include combat search and rescue.

MH 53 Sea Dragon

General Characteristics
Builder: Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.
Speed: 165 mph.
Dimensions: Length 92 ft., width 9 ft., height 25 ft., rotor diameter 72 ft.
Power Plant: Three General Electric T700-GE-416   engines
Range: 630 miles, unlimited with aerial refueling.
Armament: Any combination of three 7.62mm miniguns and .50 caliber machine guns.
Crew: Six
MH53 largest and most powerful helicopter yet put into production outside the Soviet Union, is designed to serve the Navy and Marine corps in several roles. It can carry a 16-ton payload 50 nautical miles or a 10-ton payload 500 nautical miles. It can be used for vertical on-board delivery of personnel, supplies, and equipment; support of mobile construction battalions, and removal of damaged aircraft from carrier decks. It can carry 55 troops in an amphibious assault role for the Marines, as well as providing lift and movement of cargo. The first CH-53E was delivered in 1981, and is no longer in service. They were used extensively for fleet support throughout Desert Shield/Storm. The MH-53E minesweeping version, which is heavier and has a greater fuel capacity than the CH-53, first flew in 1983. Six of these aircraft were deployed to the Middle East during Desert Shield/Storm and logged 3,300 hours while participating in the extensive coalition mine-clearing campaign in the Persian Gulf. All six used all of their mine-countermeasures systems while continuing to hunt, detect, and sweep mines until June. The MH-53E has proven to be an excellent mine-countermeasures platform. The installation of the Global Positioning System (GPS) for that operation markedly enhanced its capabilities.

MH 60 Pave Hawk

General Characteristics
Builder: Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.
Speed: 184 mph (294.4 kph)
Dimensions: Length 64 ft. (17,1 m),  height 16 ft (4,4 m)., rotor diameter 53 ft. (14,1 m)
Power Plant: Two General Electric T700-GE-01C engines
Thrust: 1,630 shaft horsepower, each engine
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 22,000 pounds (9,900 kilograms)
Range: 445 statute miles; 504 nautical miles (unlimited with air refueling)
Armament: Two 7.62mm mini-guns
Unit Cost: $10.1 million (1992 dollars)
Crew: Three
The MH-60G is equipped with an all-weather radar which enables the crew to avoid inclement weather. To extend their range, Pave Hawks are equipped with a retractable in-flight refueling probe and internal auxiliary fuel tanks. Pave Hawks are equipped with a rescue hoist with a 200-foot (60.7 meters) cable and 600-pound (270 kilograms) lift capacity. All MH-60G's have an automatic flight control system to stabilize the aircraft in typical flight altitudes. They also have instrumentation and engine and rotor blade anti-ice systems for all-weather operation. The non-retractable landing gear consists of two main landing gears and a tail wheel. Aft sliding doors on each side of the troop and cargo compartment allow rapid loading and unloading. External loads can be carried on an 8,000-pound (3,600 kilograms) capacity cargo hook. Pave Hawks are equipped with folding rotor blades and a tail stabilator for shipboard operations and to ease air transportability.The Pave Hawk is equipped with two crew-served 7.62mm miniguns mounted in the cabin windows. Also, two .50 caliber machine guns can be mounted in the cabin doors. The Pave Hawk can be equipped with the external stores support system. The aircraft can also carry eight to 10 troops.

Background

The Pave Hawk is a twin-engine medium-lift helicopter operated by the Air Force Special Operations Command, a component of the U.S. Special Operations Command.During Desert Storm, Pave Hawks provided combat recovery for coalition air forces in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Persian Gulf. They also provided emergency evacuation coverage for U.S. Navy sea, air and land (SEAL) teams penetrating the Kuwait coast before the invasion.

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