The US Coast Guard has awarded Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation a contract worth up to $850 million for new H-60 helicopters as part of a program to sustain existing MH-60T helicopter hulls reaching the end of their service life.
As part of the contract award, which runs into 2025, the coast guard placed an initial order for 25 new hulls. The initial order has a value of nearly $207 million.
According to the coast guard, the first three hulls will be used for validation of Sikorsky’s production processes and coast guard hull assembly procedures before moving to full rate production of the next 22 hulls.
Delivery of the first new helicopter is anticipated in early 2023, with subsequent hulls scheduled for delivery at approximately one per month starting in late 2023.
The coast guard’s H-60 helicopters have been in service since 1990, and the first helicopters in the fleet are set to reach their 20,000-hour service life limit in 2023. The new hulls being delivered under this contract will replace the hulls in the legacy airframes and provide an additional 20,000 flight hours of service.
These new hulls, combined with existing programmed service life extension activities, will enable the coast guard to align operations with the timeline for future fleet recapitalization in conjunction with the Department of Defense’s joint Future Vertical Lift program. The service plans to complete the program on a one-for-one basis as the existing helicopters reach their maximum flight hours, thereby maintaining the fleet size of 45 helicopters.
Hull replacement is just one component of the MH-60T sustainment effort. Other efforts include replacement of select dynamic components, such as main rotor blades, as well as full replacement of electrical wire harnesses.