Coast Guard Flying Upgraded HH-65C Helicopters Nationwide

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Coast Guard announced today that all air stations with HH-65 Dolphin helicopters are now flying the HH-65C model with an upgraded Turbomeca Arriel 2C2 engine, installed as part of the Deepwater modernization program. Air Station Humboldt Bay, Calif. – the last unit to transition from the HH-65B to the HH-65C helicopter – did so yesterday.

“One of the real workhorses of our aviation fleet now has the necessary power to get the job done safely and effectively every time it gets airborne,” said Adm. Thad W. Allen, the commandant of the Coast Guard. “We have put the right tool in the hands of our aviators as they ensure the maritime safety and security of our citizens.”

“Restoring this kind of reliability and stability to our HH-65 fleet is a crucial milestone in improving readiness,” said Capt. Mike Moore, the Coast Guard’s chief of aviation forces. “The fact that it’s being accomplished ahead of schedule reflects a true team effort by industry and our engineers, acquirers and operators.”

As of March 21, 75 of a planned 84 HH-65C helicopters have been delivered, following installation of the engines at the Coast Guard’s Aviation Repair and Supply Center in Elizabeth City, N.C., and the American Eurocopter facility in Columbus, Miss. The remaining nine HH-65C helicopters are now scheduled to be delivered ahead of the published delivery date of late June 2007.

The goal of the engine upgrade is to give the HH-65 greater power, better maneuverability, and higher safety standards. The effort was originally planned as part of the helicopter’s conversion to a multi-mission cutter helicopter but was accelerated following a series of in-flight loss of power events in 2004.

The Coast Guard received funding in fiscal year 2007 to begin the next phase of the HH-65’s conversion. This work includes a service-life extension to refurbish the airframe, tail drive shaft and anti-torque device. Eventually, strengthened landing gear, new radar, a command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) suite, and an integrated cockpit will also be installed. The multi-mission cutter helicopter will perform search and rescue, law enforcement and homeland security missions.

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