Air Station North Bend Receives First Upgraded HH-65A Helicopter

NORTH BEND, Ore. – The Coast Guard delivered the first of five re-engined HH-65 Dolphin helicopters to Coast Guard Air Station North Bend as part of the Deepwater Program Thursday.

The helicopter was upgraded with Turbomeca Arriel 2C2-CG turboshaft engines that provide substantially more power, flight control and flight safety improvements. The upgraded helicopters have the new designation of HH-65C as opposed to the former HH-65B.

Pilots, crewmembers, and maintenance personnel receive extensive ground and flight training before receiving the qualifications and designations required to fly or work on the HH-65 “Charlie” helicopter.

Twin-engine HH-65 helicopters are particularly well-suited for search and rescue, fisheries patrols, maritime security, border patrol, monitoring illegal immigration, and drug interdiction. An HH-65C Dolphin helicopter crew assigned to Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles, WA, rescued an injured hiker from a near-vertical mountain slope at an elevation of 6,300 feet July. The rescue hoist would have been impossible to accomplish with the less-powerful HH-65 Bravo model helicopter.

The modernization effort to re-engine all HH-65 helicopters in the fleet with the upgraded engine includes the provision of kits by American Eurocopter (AEC), a division of European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) North America. The conversion kits facilitate installation of extended heat shields, a reconfigured cockpit, and specialized avionics software needed for shipboard operations.

The Coast Guard’s re-engining of all operational HH-65s will remedy significant safety and reliability concerns that impact the aging helicopters. The modernization process is being conducted at the Aircraft Repair and Supply Center (ARSC) in Elizabeth City, N.C. by the Integrated Coast Guard Systems (ICGS) team, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman Corporation, in partnership with the Coast Guard.

The Deepwater Program is the largest modernization and recapitalization program in the history of the Coast Guard. The remaining four helicopters are scheduled to be delivered by February 15 to ensure the unit has a full complement of upgraded aircraft.

Source: USCG D13 Public Affairs

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

If you have any problems viewing this article, please report it here.