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The Coast Guard on Aug. 17, 2021, modified an earlier delivery order to include one additional new hull for its MH-60 helicopter fleet under an existing indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract. This modification brings the total number of new hulls on order to 31.

The Coast Guard on July 6, 2021, awarded a delivery order for five additional new hulls for its MH-60 helicopter fleet under an existing indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract. This will bring the total number of new hulls on order to 30.

The MH-60T sustainment program completed installation and testing of its first new wire harness kit Feb. 8, 2021.

MH-60T Sustainment Program

The MH-60T is an all-weather medium range recovery helicopter (MRR) equipped for search and rescue missions. The Coast Guard is currently completing strategic maintenance and renovation to sustain MH-60T Jayhawk fleet operations through the mid-2030s.

Why this program?

The Coast Guard’s H-60 helicopters have been in service since 1990, and the first helicopters of the MH-60T fleet will reach the 20,000 hour service life limit in 2023. An estimated 90% of the fleet will reach this limit by fiscal year 2028. Without completion of some form of sustainment program, this capability will be significantly degraded in the years to come.

As a result, the Coast Guard is extending the MH-60T fleet by an additional 10,000 flight hours, aligning operations with the timeline for future fleet recapitalization guided by the Coast Guard’s participation in the Department of Defense’s joint Future Vertical Lift Program. The Coast Guard intends to complete the sustainment on a one-for-one basis as the existing helicopters reach their maximum flight hours, thereby maintaining the fleet’s existing size of 45 helicopters.

How will the Coast Guard sustain the fleet?

The Coast Guard examined several options for extending the service life of its current MH-60T fleet, and is moving forward with a solution to replace the hulls of the legacy airframes. These replacement hulls will come from two sources: retired Navy H-60F and H-60H aircraft or newly manufactured hulls procured from the original equipment manufacturer, Lockheed Martin/Sikorsky.

Navy hull conversion at the Coast Guard Aviation Logistics Center in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. U.S. Coast Guard photos.

The Navy hulls will be converted to the MH-60T configuration at the Coast Guard Aviation Logistics Center in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. The program will establish a contract for the production of new hulls – consisting of three fuselage structure sections: the nose, mid (cabin) and transition – that will be engineered, manufactured and delivered in the MH-60T specification. The remaining conversion activities – including replacement of dynamic components such as rotors and electrical rewiring – for all hulls will also be completed at ALC.

Structural hull replacement through new hull acquisition.


The MH-60T Program was chartered in 2017 to evaluate and implement technical and mechanical solutions for extending MH-60T use through the mid-2030s, when fiscal and technical realities will be more conducive for a recapitalization effort. The sustainment effort will be implemented through form, fit and function replacements of the structural hull components, dynamic components such as the rotor, and electrical rewiring. Replacement of the structural hulls will be accomplished either through conversions of retired Navy SH-60F/HH-60H hulls into the MH-60T specification or through the procurement of newly manufactured hulls from the original equipment manufacturer that will be engineered, manufactured and delivered to the Coast Guard in the MH-60T specification.

The program achieved ADE-2A Aug, 11, 2020, and was approved by the Department of Homeland Security Deputy Under Secretary of Management to proceed to the next acquisition phase, the Obtain Phase. Fiscal year 2019 and 2020 appropriations were used to support the non-recurring engineering and production of 18 new hulls.

The program’s scope is limited to the sustainment of MH-60T operations and does not include the fielding of any new capabilities. The existing MH-60T avionics components and software will continue to be used and maintained on the replacement hulls through decommissioning and disposal.


  • Length: 64 feet 10 inches
  • Rotor Diameter: 53 feet 8 inches
  • Height: 17 feet
  • Maximum Weight: 21,884 pounds
  • Maximum Speed: 170 knots
  • Range: 700 nautical miles
  • Service Ceiling: 13,000 feet
  • Endurance: 6.5 hours
  • Crew: four


  • Common avionics architecture system of digital glass cockpit instruments similar to those installed on the Coast Guard’s fixed-wing aircraft
  • Surface search radar and electro-optical/infrared sensors
  • Engines standard with the Department of Defense’s H-60 fleet
  • Five multifunction display screens
  • Sensor and hoist cameras
  • Integrated traffic collision avoidance system
  • 7.62 mm machine gun for firing warning shots and a 7.62 mm shoulder-fired weapon for precise targeting, such as disabling engines on noncompliant go-fast vessels
  • Standardized mission system components complementing capabilities and equipment installed on the Coast Guard’s upgraded MH-65 short range recovery helicopter

The Coast Guard completed upgrades to its fleet of MH-60J Jayhawk medium range recovery helicopters in August 2016. Redesignated as MH-60Ts, the upgraded helicopters received new flight instruments and avionics, communications and navigation equipment.

For more information: MH-60T upgrade page