The “New” & Most “Valu­able” Play­ers

The In­dian Navy had in­ducted Sea King helicopters dur­ing 1970, which have be­come ob­so­lete and also are dwin­dling in num­bers. The Navy is likely to is­sue a RFP soon for 120 multi-role helicopters.

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The In­dian Navy had in­ducted Sea King helicopters dur­ing 1970, which have be­come ob­so­lete and also are dwin­dling in num­bers.

MUCh haS BeeN WRIT­TeN about the ubiq­ui­tous na­ture of the mod­ern mar­itime mul­ti­role helicopters (MRh) cur­rently pa­trolling the skies above the worldÕs oceans. The ca­pa­bil­ity of the he­li­copter to op­er­ate from a ship deck, hover for long pe­ri­ods of time and fly the nape of the earth/sea to avoid radar de­tec­tion; make them in­valu­able for mar­itime role. Since the em­ploy­ment of mar­itime ro­tor­craft dur­ing World War II, Flet­tner Fl 282s were used by Ger­many for re­con­nais­sance, and Siko­rsky R-4s were used by the United States. The most ob­vi­ous roles were re­con­nais­sance, search and res­cue (SaR), and med­i­cal evac­u­a­tion. The other roles were anti-sub­ma­rine war­fare (aSW) and elec­tronic war­fare. aSW em­ploys air, sur­face or sub­sur­face plat­forms to de­tect and dam­age/de­stroy en­emy sub­marines. Like other types of war­fare, aSW also re­quires sen­sors to lo­cate the sub­ma­rine and weapons to de­stroy it. The sen­sors are gen­er­ally based on sonar and ar­ma­ment usu­ally used is the tor­pe­doe. Both the sen­sors and the weapons can be em­ployed from air, sur­face and sub­sur­face plat­forms. aerial plat­forms are the most mo­bile, flex­i­ble and cost-ef­fec­tive. even in to­dayÕs age of net­worked sen­sors, ex­ten­sive use of satel­lite re­sources and high-al­ti­tude long-en­durance un­manned aerial sys­tems such as the US NavyÕs broad area mar­itime sur­veil­lance sys­tem based on navalised Global hawk; the fact re­mains that the no­tion of the em­barked he­li­copter as the fleetÕs Òeyes and ears be­yond the hori­zonÓis more rel­e­vant to­day than at any time in our his­tory.


Two pri­mary rea­sons im­me­di­ately ad­vance to the fore. an ever in­creas­ing re­li­a­bil­ity of the air­craft and an ever in­creas­ing mis­sion­sys­tem-in­te­grated sen­sor suite are the two largest driv­ers. The ad­vances in th­ese two ar­eas can be sim­ply il­lus­trated com­par­ing the rel­a­tive re­li­a­bil­ity and mis­sion sys­tem ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the West­land Wasp and the Mh-60R Sea hawk. In be­tween there are other ex­am­ples like the Kamov se­ries of Rus­sia, Siko­rsky Sh-60/Mh-60 se­ries of the US and many more.

The Wasp was a navalised Scout he­li­copter and in­ducted into the Royal Navy dur­ing 1962. It was ar­guably one of the best among the ear­li­est forms of re­li­able multi-mis­sion mar­itime helicopters. It de­liv­ered two cru­cial ca­pa­bil­i­ties never be­fore avail­able to the flhhW: hyhV ehyRQG WKh KRULzRQ IRU WKh VKLS’V sen­sors and a ca­pa­bil­ity to de­liver an an­tisub­ma­rine war­fare (aSW) weapon be­yond the en­gage­ment range of the sub­marinelaunched anti-ship tor­pedo of the day. It came into lime­light dur­ing the Falk­land War when on april 25, 1982, the ar­gen­tinian sub­ma­rine aRa Santa Fe was spot­ted by a Wessex he­li­copter from hMS antrim. The Wessex and a West­land Lynx haS.2 from hMS Bril­liant then at­tacked it. a Wasp launched from hMS Ply­mouth and two Wasps launched IURP H06 (QGXUdQFh doVR fiUhG $6.12 dQWL­ship mis­siles at the sub­ma­rine, scor­ing hits. Santa Fe was dam­aged badly enough to pre­vent it from sub­merg­ing. The last Wasp was fiQdooy ZLWKGUdZQ IURP VhUYLFh LQ 1988.

The Rus­sian Kamov Ka-27 he­li­copter was de­vel­oped for the Rus­sian Navy to carry out aSW and ferry troops. Like other Kamov mil­i­tary helicopters, it has a ro­tor, re­mov­ing the need for a tail ro­tor. It is in ser­vice in many coun­tries in­clud­ing Rus­sia, China and In­dia. It also car­ries radar, mag­netic anom­aly de­tec­tion sys­tem or a dip­ping sonar. Kamov Ka-28 he­li­copter is de­signed to search, de­tect, track, and en­gage sur­faced and sub­merged sub­marines. The later ver­sion, Ka-28, is ca­pa­ble of un­der­tak­ing lon­gen­durance aSW mis­sions with no ref­er­ence way­points, in all-weather con­di­tions, at a range of over 200 km, at a sea state of up WR fiYh. 7Kh KhoLFRSWhU FdQ eh FRQ­fiJXUhG WR op­er­ate in search, search/at­tack, or at­tack vari­ants. The he­li­copterÕs avion­ics suite LQFoXGhV dQ LQWhJUdWhG flLJKW QdYLJdWLRQ VyVtem and a sight­ing sys­tem which pro­vides all-weather nav­i­ga­tion, sub­ma­rine de­tec­tion, ZhdSRQV FRQWURo, UhWXUQ flLJKW WR WKh PRWKhU ship and land­ing ap­proach.

Sea hawk se­ries is a multi-mis­sion US Navy (USN) he­li­copter based on the US army Uh-60 Black hawk and a mem­ber of the Siko­rsky S-70 fam­ily. The USN uses the h-60 air­frame un­der the model des­ig­na­tions, Sh60B, Sh-60F, hh-60h, Mh-60R and Mh-60S, which can be de­ployed aboard any air-ca­pa­ble ship. The Sea hawk can be em­ployed for aSW, anti-sur­face war­fare, naval spe­cial war­fare in­ser­tion, SaR, com­bat search and res­cue (CSaR), ver­ti­cal re­plen­ish­ment and med­i­cal evac­u­a­tion. all Navy h-60s carry a res­cue hoist for SaR/CSaR mis­sions.

Vir­tu­ally as soon as th­ese were em­ployed, WKh RShUdWRUV RI WKhVh dLUFUdIW dQG WKh flhhWV they served found sev­eral new chal­lengesÑ when one is able to ÒseeÓ be­yond the horizRQ, RQh PXVW eh deoh WR hI­fiFLhQWoy PdQdJh WKh FRQWdFWV GhWhFWhG dQG FodVVL­fihG ey WKh air crew. Thus be­gan the ever in­creas­ing de­mands on air/ship data man­age­ment and tar­get track­ingÑ a task made all the more GLI­fiFXoW ZLWK FRQWLQXdo LQWURGXFWLRQ RI hYhU more so­phis­ti­cated sen­sor sys­tems such as the radar, eo/IR, pas­sive and ac­tive acous­tics and elec­tronic sup­port mea­sures.

7KhUh KdYh ehhQ VhYhUdo flhhW dQG ship-ca­pa­bil­ity en­hance­ment stud­ies un­der­taken over the decades which have con­cluded that to im­prove the ships warfight­ing ca­pa­bil­ity, one of the key as­pects is to im­prove the ca­pa­bil­ity of the MRh. Nowhere is this more ev­i­dent than in the cur­rent state-of-the-art mar­itime strike he­li­copter (Mh-60R).

The penul­ti­mate multi-mis­sion mar­itime strike he­li­copter of to­day takes the huge in­te­gra­tion chal­lenges of th­ese var­ied sen­sors head on with a highly au­to­mated air­craft/ship crew co­or­di­na­tion chore­ographed through a high-speed, broad­band data link in ad­di­tion to se­cure voice comPXQLFdWLRQ. 7Kh fihoGLQJ RI WKLV PRVW IRUPLd­able weapon sys­tem drew high praise from WKh YhUy fiUVW GhSoRyPhQW ZLWK WKh QdYdo avi­a­tors terming the Mh-60RÑ ÒRomeoÓ a Ògame chang­erÓ. Mh-60R is equipped for mul­ti­ple roles in­clud­ing aSW, anti-sur­face ZdUIdUh, 6$5, QdYdo JXQ­fiUh VXSSRUW, VXUYhLolance, com­mu­ni­ca­tions re­lay, lo­gis­tics sup­port, per­son­nel trans­fer and ver­ti­cal re­plen­ish­ment. For aSW mis­sions, the he­li­copter is equipped with a sonobuoy launcher and a Raytheon aN/aQS-22 ad­vanced air­borne low-fre­quency dip­ping sonar; Raytheon aN/ aaS-44 de­tect­ing/track­ing sys­tem, which in­cludes for­ward-look­ing in­frared and odVhU UdQJh­fiQGhU; UdGdU LV WKh 7ho­hSKRQics aN/aPS-147 multi-mode radar which has in­verse syn­thetic aper­ture imag­ing and periscope, and small tar­get de­tec­tion ca­pa­bil­ity. Lock­heed Martin has been awarded a con­tract to de­velop a new radar sys­tem, the au­to­matic radar periscope de­tec­tion and dis­crim­i­na­tion sys­tem, to be de­liv­ered from 2013. )RU FRXQWhUPhdVXUhV, LW LV fiWWhG ZLWK Lock­heed Mart­inÕs aN/aLQ-210 elec­tronic sup­port mea­sures sys­tem. elec­tronic war­fare sys­tems in­clude the aTK aN/aaR-47 mis­sile warner, laser warn­ing sys­tem, Bae Sys­tem­sÕaN/aLQ-144 in­frared jam­mer; Bae 6yVWhPV’ $1/$/(-39 FKdII dQG fldUh GhFRy dis­penser. The Mh-60R he­li­copter shares the same Mh-60 multi-func­tion dig­i­tal glass cock­pit as the Mh-60S he­li­copter. For aSW, the Mh-60R can carry up to three aTK mk50 or mk46 ac­tive/pas­sive light­weight tor­pe­does. a pin­tle-mounted 7.62mm ma­chine JXQ LV fiWWhG IRU VhoI-GhIhQFh. WLWK IXoo UdWh pro­duc­tion ap­proved in 2006, the USN ex­pects to op­er­ate 252 Mh-60R helicopters by 2015. Lock­heed Martin pro­vides the dig­i­tal cock­pit com­mon to the Mh-60R and Mh-60S helicopters, while Siko­rsky man­u­fac­tures the air­frame.

Most Valu­able Player

In­ter­est­ingly, this state-of-the-art radar sys­tem is not based on so-called ac­tive elec­tron­i­cally scanned ar­ray (aeSa) tech­nolo­gies. While the radar world writ large fawns over WKh SURPLVh RI $(6$, dQG WKh fiJKWhU FRPPXnity has adopted the tech­nol­ogy whole­sale, the world of mar­itime sur­veil­lance and imag­ing re­mains the purview, for the mo­ment, of me­chan­i­cally scanned sys­tems. euro­pean and amer­i­can at­tempts to in­tro­duce aeSa into the mar­itime sur­veil­lance sphere have even­tu­ally com­pro­mised on hy­brid elec­tronic/me­chan­i­cal im­ple­men­ta­tions that are yet to per­form at lev­els ap­proach­ing those of fully-evolved me­chan­i­cally scanned sys­tems. ÒSome of th­ese so-called mar­itime aeSa sys­tems are ac­tu­ally the worst of both worlds,Ó VdyV d QdYdo RI­fiFhU. “7Khy dUh PRUh hxShQ­sive, heav­ier, re­quire more power, re­quire more cool­ing, are not as re­li­able and do not per­form as well as the cur­rently avail­able me­chan­i­cally-scanned sys­tems.Ó In­deed, the launch plat­form for the most evolved hy­brid me­chan­i­cally-scanned aeSa is the UK ÒWild­catÓ pro­gram­meÑ the highly-evolved fu­ture of the very wor­thy and sto­ried Sea Lynx. due to UKÕs Min­istry of de­fence (Mod) bud­get woes and delays in a va­ri­ety of im­ple­ment­ing tech­nolo­gies, Wild­cat, and its me­chan­i­calaeSa radar will not en­ter full-rate pro­duc­tion for some time to come. The build-out of Wild­catÑ some 40 sys­temsÑ should prove a VXI­fiFLhQW TXdQWLWy WR SURYLGh d JRRG SURGXFWLRQ edVh IRU WKh UdGdU ZKhQ LW fiQdooy KdSpens. Like­wise, smaller plat­forms such as Fire Scout, which will sport the new aN/ZPY4(V)1 will see num­bers well over 100 for the do­mes­tic pro­gramme alone. None of th­ese plat­forms will com­mit to aeSa un­til the cost, weight, power, price and per­for­mance com­pare favourably with th­ese cur­rent sta­teof-the-art sys­tems. With im­per­fect view of pro­grammes that may be in early de­vel­opPhQW LQ FodVVL­fihG hQYLURQPhQWV, LW LV GLI­fiFXoW to see how the me­chan­i­cally-scanned aeSa so­lu­tion or what would be an even heav­ier and more ex­pen­sive full aeSa to ad­dress the 360-GhJUhh VFdQ, FdQ SRVVLeoy eh fihoGhG LQ the next decade.

In­dian Per­spec­tive

The In­dian Navy had in­ducted Sea King helicopters dur­ing 1970, which have be­come ob­so­lete and also are dwin­dling in num­bers. The In­dian Navy had is­sued a re­quest for in­for­ma­tion (RFI) about a year back for a MRh. It is un­der­stood that the MRh should be able to carry out the pri­mary roles of anti-sur­face war­fare (aSW) and spe­cial op­er­a­tions. Sec­ondary roles in­clude elec­tronic in­tel­li­gence, SaR, CSaR, car­ry­ing of un­der slung cargo and ca­su­alty evac­u­a­tion. The In­dian Navy is likely to is­sue a re­quest for pro­posal (RFP) soon for 120 MRhs. Nearer the hori­zon is the naval util­ity he­li­copter which is re­quired to un­der­take an ar­ray of lo­gis­tics, util­ity and search roles as the cir­cum­stances de­mand. Present in all roles is the need for mul­ti­mode radar. If it has to have other vari­ants, then it should be able to carry radar, other eo de­vices, sonar and suit­able weapons which will re­quire a big­ger plat­form. Thus the ob­vi­ous con­clu­sion is that for meet­ing In­di­aÕs re­quire­ment of mar­itime MRh, there is a need to ex­plore glob­ally.


HH-60H Sea Hawk he­li­copter

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