Helicopters are vital to the execution of numerous Navy missions. The Navy will be "necking down" to fewer types of helicopters in the future, but rotary-wing requirements will not lessen.

The Helicopter Master Plan sets forth the following taskings:

The plan calls for expanding warfighting capabilities, modernizing the force, necking down to three aircraft types, and consolidating force structure where possible. To meet the new taskings, the Navy is making the changes described below:


The Navy will procure sufficient numbers of CH-60 helicopters to replace the CH-46D Sea Knight, HH-60H Seahawk, and H-3 Sea King. The CH-60 is the future aircraft for combat search and rescue, special operations, and logistics helicopter forces in the Navy. Combining the tested and battle proven U.S. Army UH-60 Blackhawk fuselage and Navy SH-60 Seahawk dynamic components, the CH-60 promises to be a superb aircraft. The commonality bred into the helicopter not only contributes to mission effectiveness, but will provide logistics and acquisition efficiencies. A CH-60 demonstrator will fly in the summer of 1997, with full production currently scheduled for FY 1999. The CH-60 is the linchpin of the Helicopter Master Plan.


The SH-60B Seahawk is the air component of the LAMPS Mk III weapon system integrated with the Navy's surface combatant forces. Seahawks have exceeded all Fleet requirements since their first deployment in 1984. The primary missions of the Seahawk are antisubmarine warfare and antisurface warfare. It also supports secondary missions of electronic warfare and command, control, and communications � as well as the traditional helicopter roles of search and rescue and logistics. The SH 60F Seahawk, a specialized variant embarked in aircraft carriers, provides close-in undersea warfare protection to the battle group. First deployed in 1991, this aircraft is equipped with active dipping sonar and sonobuoy processing for the ASW mission. The SH-60F also contributes to maritime interdiction operations, search and rescue operations, and logistics support.


The conversion of all SH-60B and SH-60F helicopters to SH-60R or SH 60R(V) will provide a true multimission helicopter force. The SH-60R upgrade involves the remanufacture of existing Seahawk variants into an aircraft that will carry the Navy's tactical helicopter community through 2020. Along with a Service Life Extension Program for the airframe, the SH-60R will incorporate an advanced multi-mode, Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar, the Airborne Low Frequency (dipping) Sonar, and an upgraded computer suite that will significantly improve the multimission ability of the SH-60 weapons system.


The HH-60H is also assigned to carrier air wings and performs the missions of combat search and rescue and special operations warfare support. Capable of executing either mission from air-capable ships as well as from unprepared sites ashore, the incorporation of FLIR coupled with Hellfire missiles and an enhanced survivability package will continue to provide the task force commander with a potent multimission force multiplier well into the next century.

Other aspects of the Navy's Helicopter Master Plan include:

System Overview Safety Affordable Avionics C4/ISR Aircraft Carriers Carrier Air Wings
F-14 Tomcat F/A-18 Hornet Joint Strike Fighter Airborne Reconnaissance Vision E-2C Hawkeye S-3B Viking
ES-3A Shadow Common Support Aircraft EA-6B Prowler Helicopter Master Plan
Marine Corps Fixed-Wing Aircraft Marine Corps Rotary-Wing Aircraft P-3C Orion EP-3E Aries II E-6A/B Mercury
Air-to-Air Missiles Air-to-Ground Weapons Air-to-Subsurface Weapons Naval Reserve Aviation Logistics Airlift
Training Aircraft Aircrew Training Aviation Specialized Skills Training Logistics Expeditionary Airfields
Air Traffic Control Ranges and Airfields