The MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter was created for the purpose of replacing Boeing helicopters used by the U.S. Navy, with the Knighthawk originally designated as CH-60S. After an expansion in mission requirements beyond the Boeing helicopters, the Knighthawk was redesignated to its current classification, MH-60S. Features of the Knighthawk helicopter design were based on the Army’s UH-60 Black Hawk.
The multi-mission Knighthawk helicopter was introduced in February 2002, and the Navy now utilizes 275 MH-60S Knighthawk helicopters within their operations. This development has led to reductions in costs per flight hour, component removals, and mission aborts, as well as unscheduled maintenance.
Features of the Knighthawk Helicopter
The MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter construction included merging proven design features from the Black Hawk helicopter with new, desired qualities. Using the baseline structure of the Black Hawk, the Knighthawk features:
- T-700-GE-401C engines
- Hover in-flight refueling and fuel dumping
- The Seahawk’s rotor system
- Automatic rotor blade folding system
- Rapid folding tail pylon
- Improved durability gearbox with transmission and drive train
- Automatic flight control
- Rescue hoist
- Black Hawk airframe, providing a large cabin volume and double doors
These qualities allowed the Knighthawk helicopter to take what worked well with the Black Hawk but then add on newer components to take aviation to the next level. The new design features that were incorporated include:
- Common cockpit – This allows for the pilot to shift from one aircraft to the other with minimal training, and includes dual programmable operator keysets as well as dual flight management computers. Pilot and co-pilot sit aside each other on armour-protected seats.
- Airborne mine countermeasures – Among the measures added to the Knighthawk helicopter include the ability to destroy mines underwater, remove near-surface and surface moored mines, laser target via a sensor, and identify mines through a laser mine detection system.
These design features help the Knighthawk helicopter fill a variety of essential roles, and ensures the safety of the U.S. Navy while being deployed on missions.
The Role of MH-60S Knighthawk Helicopter in Missions
The design of the Knighthawk helicopter has made it quite versatile. The MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter is easily modified with mission kits and can accommodate up to 20 armed troops in the heated main cabin. Some missions that it was designed to facilitate include:
- Warfare support
- Combat search and rescue
- Vertical replenishment
- Airborne mine countermeasures
Utilizing equipment such as the MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter with its various mission kits makes for a more robust and prepared military, and one which can accomplish the tasks at hand.
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