July 20, 2021 —
Rescue swimmers conduct training from one of Air Station Miami’s upgraded MH-65E medium range recovery helicopters. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Auxiliarist Joey Feldman.
The Coast Guard short range recovery helicopter program delivered CGNR 6596 to Air Station Miami July 12. With this delivery, 25 Dolphin helicopters have been converted to the “E” configuration, and four facilities have transitioned to the upgraded aircraft.
The avionics upgrade to the Echo or “E” configuration includes reliability and capability improvements for the Automatic Flight Control System; enhanced digital weather/surface search radar; integration of a robust command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance suite; and modernization of the digital flight deck. In addition to the upgraded search and rescue capabilities, the advanced navigation capabilities will allow pilots to safely maneuver through highly congested, complex air traffic that can be encountered in situations such as disaster response.
At the same time, the Coast Guard is completing Service Life Extension Program activities to replace five major structure components: the nine-degree frame, canopy, center console floor assembly, floorboards and side panels. These mission-critical improvements are designed to extend the service life of the helicopter by 10,000 flight hours.
The Coast Guard is in the process of transitioning all its MH-65 facilities to the upgraded configuration; in addition to Miami, Air Station Houston, Air Station/Sector Field Office Port Angeles, Washington, and Sector North Bend, Oregon, have also transitioned from the MH-65D to the MH-65E. Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii, has received four upgraded MH-65Es and is scheduled to fully transition to MH-65E operations later this summer. Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron is the next in line to receive the updated aircraft. The Coast Guard plans to convert all 98 aircraft to the MH-65E configuration by the end of fiscal year 2024.
For more information: MH-65 program page