We previously discussed the fact that the Coast Guard is working on life extension programs for both the MH-65s and the MH-60s, but a recent post from the Naval Institute News Service brought up an interesting possibility that might offer increased capability.
We would like to enlarge the MH-65 fleet, but, because that now appears impossible, we will be obtaining and rejuvenating some Navy H-60 airframes.
“Part of the Coast Guard’s strategy includes refurbishing used Navy MH-60 Seahawks and keep them flying for about 20,000 more hours.”
Presumably these airframes will bring along their folding rotor blades and tails that would permit them to be hangered on most of our larger ships.
I’m wondering if we will retain the ability to take these helicopters to sea. It could substantially improve shipboard helicopter range, endurance, and weight carrying ability.. Perhaps the helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) in Jacksonville should get some of these aircraft. (They currently have ten MH-65Ds. They will probably need to retain some H-65s as long as we are using 210s for drug interdiction.)