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Lockheed Martin subsidiary Sikorsky delivered the first of 45 replacement MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter airframes to the US Coast Guard (USCG) on 30 November 2023, Lockheed Martin announced the same day.

The delivery launches a 10-year programme to extend the service life of the USCG’s existing MH-60T medium-range recovery helicopters, allowing this fleet to continue flying life-saving missions into the 2040s.

The first MH-60T helicopter to receive the new airframe, consisting of nose, cabin and aft transition structures combined as a single assembly, will be rebuilt at the Coast Guard Aviation Logistics Center (ALC) in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, starting this month.

Over the past 33 years the ALC has maintained and repaired the Jayhawk fleet up to the airframe’s maximum operational life limit of 20,000 flight hours.

“We congratulate the Coast Guard ALC for the tremendous work it’s done to keep the Jayhawk fleet operating for decades,” Sikorsky President Paul Lemmo was quoted as saying in a Lockheed Martin press release. “Equally, we applaud the Coast Guard aircrews, whose bravery and skill flying these rugged aircraft into extreme conditions over land, lakes and sea have saved thousands of lives.”

Sikorsky delivered the first MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter replacement airframe to the US Coast Guard on 30 November 2023 as part of a service life extension programme for the MH-60T fleet. (Photo: Sikorsky)

According to the USCG, the H-60 Jayhawk fleet has saved more than 11,900 lives during more than 48,300 search-and-rescue missions since 1990, accumulating more than 730,430 flight hours.

“The MH-60T is an important part of the execution of many Coast Guard missions, including search and rescue, and our service life extension program is vital in maintaining this capability,” Rear Admiral Michael Campbell, Coast Guard Director of Acquisition Programs and Program Executive Officer, was quoted as saying. “Delivery of this first newly manufactured hull by Sikorsky is an important step in this effort.”