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Anti-Mine Version Of MH-60S Takes Flight (July 23)

STRATFORD, Conn., --- The Airborne Mine Countermeasures (AMCM) version of the Sikorsky Aircraft MH-60S KNIGHTHAWK took to the skies this week, completing a successful first flight.

The MH-60S and its counterpart, the Sikorsky MH-60R, form the basis for the Navy's Helicopter Concept of Operations (CONOPS) and will replace all other existing Navy helicopters by 2010.

Together, the aircraft will provide a full array of maritime helicopter capabilities, including anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface ship warfare (ASuW), medevac, logistics, search and rescue, and Airborne Mine Countermeasures (AMCM).

The MH-60S is a baseline BLACK HAWK configuration with SEAHAWK engines, rotor system and dynamic components, including the SEAHAWK's automatic rotor blade folding system, folding tail pylon, improved durability gearbox, rotor brake and automatic flight control computer. This aircraft is the latest in the H-60 family of aircraft whose ruggedness, survivability and versatility have made the H-60 the world?s standard utility helicopter.

The AMCM derivative adds an operator's station to the cabin, additional internal fuel stores, and towing capability to the aircraft. The AMCM capable MH-60S will provide the Carrier Battle Groups (CVBG) and Amphibious Ready Groups (ARG) with organic airborne mine countermeasures (OAMCM) capability. Initial Operational Capability is planned for calendar year 2005.

Today's flight furthers the impressive testing and operational accomplishments we have achieved since the inception of the program, said Paul Martin, Senior Vice President of Government and Advanced Development Programs. The revolutionary AMCM capabilities on this aircraft adds another layer of sophistication to the U.S. Navy's helicopter roadmap for the future.

In September 2002, the U.S. Navy granted the MH-60S helicopter program a Milestone III Full Rate Production Decision authorizing the Navy's purchase of up to 237 MH-60S aircraft. The Navy has already ordered 119 aircraft and the 50th was delivered in June.

The MH-60S is currently flying in five Navy squadrons located in Guam, San Diego, and Norfolk, Virginia. Many of these aircraft are also supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation, of Hartford, Conn., is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of advanced helicopters for commercial, industrial and military uses.

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Sikorsky Airborne Mine Countermeasures MH-60S Makes Flight Debut