Good Timing! Sikorsky Had Just Celebrated 300th MH-Seahawk

Just three days before modified MH-60 Seahawk helicopters carried Navy SEALS into Pakistan for their successful assault on the Bin Laden compound, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation issued a news release, “Sikorsky Aircraft Achieves 300 MH-60 SEAHAWK® Helicopter Production Milestone for U.S. Navy“:

STRATFORD, Conn., April 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX), and the U.S. Navy have celebrated the production of 100 MH-60R and 200 MH-60S SEAHAWK® multi-mission helicopters for the U.S. Navy.

“MH-60 helicopters perform an important role protecting the fleet and its sailors, and conducting a host of multi-mission operations,” said Rear Adm. Paul Grosklags, vice commander, U.S. Navy Naval Air Systems Command. “Our Navy pilots and crew fly with the knowledge that these aircraft not only are proven operationally at sea, but are made by a company with a proven track record of helicopter manufacturing excellence.”

Marc Ambinder at National has an excellent, detail-rich report on the SEAL Team Six,  known officially as Naval Special Warfare Development but called DevGru in the vernacular. From “The Secret Team That Killed bin Laden“:

From Ghazi Air Base in Pakistan, the modified MH-60 helicopters made their way to the garrison suburb of Abbottabad, about 30 miles from the center of Islamabad. Aboard were Navy SEALs, flown across the border from Afghanistan, along with tactical signals, intelligence collectors, and navigators using highly classified hyperspectral imagers.

After bursts of fire over 40 minutes, 22 people were killed or captured. One of the dead was Osama bin Laden, done in by a double tap — boom, boom — to the left side of his face. His body was aboard the choppers that made the trip back.

Hurray for the SEALS! And hurray for the more than 1,100 Sikorsky employees who assemble and complete both MH-60 SEAHAWK helicopter types at the company’s Troy, Ala., and Stratford, Conn., facilities.

We’ll be scanning news reports for other details about the machinery and weapons used in this mission.

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Bill says:

    Thanks for the valuable insight Mark. Seahawks don’t cost $28M; and for every rotorcraft of any kind that is lost in combat, there are many, many more that take on heavy fire and still get our troops home safe. We don’t know all the details, so why blame any one ingredient in the mix?

  • Henry says:

    Well, the MH-60 just secured it’s place in American history.
    People need to realize that military aircraft are under tremendous stress when they operate. How long would your car last if every time you drove it, you were redlining the engine are cornering like you were a NASCAR driver and you were doing this when it was -20 outside and when it was 130 outside.

    I served in the desert and can tell you that weather conditions can change so fast and can become so blinding and so dangerous that nobody flies… Except the US military.

    So before anybody criticizes the equipment, they should take the time to examine the conditions that equipment works under.

  • chyea says:

    one bird doesnt cost 28 mil

  • Mark2wain says:

    Hooray for the Seals, yeah, but what about the $28 million helicopter that failed to perform and had to be destroyed? This sounds really familiar, multiple times, starting with the Iran hostage rescue fiasco. Or is “mechanical difficulty” just spin for “they shot the heck out of this bird, but luckily we had backups”? You’d think, for $28 mil, we’d be able to fly out of there in one piece. Still, glad to have the job done. Thanks, guys!

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