The Coast Guard is incrementally upgrading its H-65 Dolphin short range recovery helicopter fleet with new engines, avionics and other capabilities.
Why this program?
The H-65 Dolphin has been in the Coast Guard’s inventory since 1984. The Coast Guard is upgrading the helicopters with state-of-the-market enhancements that will extend mission capabilities and improve their reliability and maintainability. This conversion and sustainment project adds digital technology, including GPS and inertial navigation, flight control, weather radar and cockpit instruments. Since 2007, the entire fleet has been equipped with new engines that add 40% more power and airborne use of force capabilities, redesignating the aircraft MH-65s. Additionally, the Coast Guard is executing a Service Life Extension Project (SLEP) to extend the service life the H-65 Dolphin by 10,000 flights hours.
How are the upgrades implemented?
The MH-65 conversion and sustainment project is being accomplished in phases or complementary discrete segments. The Coast Guard upgrades the aircraft at the Aviation Logistics Center in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, where engineers and technical authorities on the MH-65 product line install, test and evaluate the new equipment. Each segment upgrades and modernizes major components and sub-components and sets a baseline for future upgrades in the helicopters’ mission capabilities. When the current phase of the upgrades is complete, the aircraft will be redesignated as MH-65Es. A separate discrete segment was added for the SLEP work.