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MH-65 Short Range Recovery Helicopter

For more photos of the MH-65 Short Range Recovery Helicopter, visit the image gallery on Flickr.

The short range recovery helicopter performs search and rescue, law enforcement and homeland security missions. Certified for operation in all-weather and night-time operations, with the exception of icy conditions, the MH-65 helicopter is the only Coast Guard aircraft used aboard certified cutters during deployments.


  • Length (with rotor blades):  44 feet 5 inches
  • Rotor Diameter:  39 feet 2inches
  • Height:  13 feet 3inches
  • Maximum Weight:  9,480 pounds
  • Cruise Speed:  148 knots
  • Range:  350 nautical miles
  • Endurance:  three hours


  • 40 percent more power and higher performance from new engines
  • Radar and electro-optical/infrared sensors
  • Capability to conduct sorties from a cutter flight deck
  • 7.62 mm machine gun and a .50-caliber rifle
  • Ongoing common avionics architecture system of digital glass cockpit instruments similar to those installed on the Coast Guard’s upgraded MH-60T medium range recovery helicopter

Discrete Segments

  • Discrete Segment 1: In this segment, which was completed in 2007, helicopter engines were replaced with digitally controlled Turbomeca Arriel 2C2-CG engines, adding 40 percent more power.
  • Discrete Segment 2: The Coast Guard purchased seven new MH-65 aircraft to identify and intercept non-compliant light aircraft operating within the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone.
  • Discrete Segment 3: In this segment, adding airborne use of force capability will equip aircraft with a 7.62 mm general-purpose machine gun and a .50-caliber precision rifle to disable engines on non-compliant vessels and provide fire support for Coast Guard boarding teams. After completing this segment, helicopters will be re-designated MH-65C.
  • Discrete Segment 4: Obsolete subsystems will be replaced during this segment, such as replacing navigation systems and gyros with digital GPS and inertial navigation systems. After completing this segment, helicopters will be re-designated MH-65D.
  • Discrete Segment 5: This segment will equip helicopters with a ship handling, securing and traversing system, which is an advanced mechanical interface for recovering, securing and moving aircraft aboard cutters.
  • Discrete Segment 6: Remaining obsolete subsystems will be modernized during this segment, including replacing analog automatic flight control with digital systems, installing digital weather radar systems, and installing digital glass cockpit instruments. After completing this segment, helicopters will be re-designated MH-65E.

The Coast Guard transferred its second MH-65E Dolphin short range recovery helicopter to Aviation Training Center (ATC) Mobile, Alabama, Jan. 25, 2017, for use in developing a training curriculum for the new models.

The Coast Guard awarded a $3.7 million contract to Rockwell Collins Inc. for production of 140 automatic flight control system control panels for its MH-65E short range recovery helicopters Dec. 20, 2016.

 Program Information