Defense Industry Daily is reporting the Canadians have selected the Bell B429 as their new shipboard Coast Guard helicopter
“The request for proposals closes on May 27, but rivals AgustaWestland, Airbus Helicopters Canada and Sikorsky have all signalled they won’t be submitting bids, leaving Bell and its model 412 chopper (actually the B429–Chuck) as the only contender…. The companies declining to take part are doing so because their aircraft are heavier than the maximum of 4,989 kilograms (11,000 pounds), a safety limit established for the decks of coast guard ships in the 1970s.
Industry sources said at least one potential bidder expressed concern that the standard was outdated and asked the federal government for data on how the weight restriction was calculated. The intention was to prove the decks could handle higher ratings, but officials just came back and said the standard was the standard.”
The Bell B429 is a twin engine helicopter with the capability of allowing single pilot flight in IFR (instrument flight rules) conditions, designed for the medivac market. It is about 2000 pounds lighter than the MH-65 but is otherwise similar in performance. There are a number of door options including clamshell doors in the rear and an option for retractable wheeled landing gear.
Always nice to know what the other guy is doing. DefenseUpdate is reporting the Norwegians are planning on replacing their current SAR helicopters with a fleet of at least 16 three engine Agusta Westland AW101s. Contract includes an option for an additional six.
Perhaps it is noteworthy that they are still using a version of the HH-3 which the USCG replaced two decades ago. With H-3s still in use by Norway, the UK, and Canada, perhaps we are not doing so badly.
The specs are impressive:
“As a medium/heavy multi-role platform AW101 has a large cabin that can carry 30+ survivors, SAR equipment and crew, and the cabin can be reconfigured in flight to meet mission requirements. crashworthy seats or 16 stretcher patients. The helicopter is powered by three GE CT7-8E engines, but can also cruise with one engine idling, to extend range or endurance of 750 nm (over 1300 km). High cruise speed, all weather operating capability, high reliability and safety are among its main advantages. The company also offers a special variant for Combat Search and Rescue missions, for which the AW101 can be equipped with up to 3 window and door mounted guns, Defensive Aids Suite and air-to-air refueling equipment.”
The AW101 is a very large, fast, long ranged helicopter. It is also in service with the Canadians in a SAR role. It has experienced a number of problems, that now appear to have been resolved. Below are characteristic of the AW101 in its Canadian CH-149 form followed by those of the Coast Guard’s MH-60 taken from their Wiki descriptions.
CH-149 General characteristics
- Crew: 5 (Aircraft Commander, First Officer, Flight Engineer, 2 SAR Techs)
- 30 seated troops or
- 45 standing troops or
- 16 stretchers with medics
- Length: 22.81 m (74 ft 10 in)
- Height: 6.65 m (21 ft 10 in)
- Empty weight: 10,500 kg (23,149 lb)
- Max takeoff weight: 14,580 kg (32,143 lb)
- Powerplant: 3 × General Electric T700-T6A1 turboshaft, 1,286 kW (1,725 hp) each
- Main rotor diameter: 18.59 m (61 ft 0 in)
- Never exceed speed: 309 km/h (192 mph; 167 kn)
- Range: 1,389 km (863 mi; 750 nmi)
- Service ceiling: 4,575 m (15,010 ft)
- Rate of climb: 10.2 m/s (2,010 ft/min)
- Wing loading: 53.8 kg/m2 (11.0 lb/sq ft)
- Power/mass: 0.2849 kW/kg (0.174 shp/lb)
HH-60J General characteristics
- Crew: Four (pilot, co-pilot, two flight crew)
- Length: 64 ft 10 in (19.76 m)
- Rotor diameter: 53 ft 8 in (16.36 m)
- Height: 17 ft (5.18 m)
- Empty weight: 14,500 lb (6,580 kg)
- Max. takeoff weight: 21,884 lb (9,926 kg)
- Powerplant: 2 × General Electric T700-GE-401C gas turbines, 1,890 shp (1,410 kW) each
- Maximum speed: 180 knots (205 mph, 333 km/h)
- Cruise speed: 140 knots (160 mph, 260 km/h)
- Range: 700 nautical miles (802 mi, 1,300 km)
- Service ceiling: 5,000 ft hovering (1,520 m)
Note this is for the HH-60, not the characteristics as modified to MH-60J and that the criteria for service ceiling are different.