Navy to Retire HH-60H Helicopters in 2019
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy plans to retire its remaining HH-60H combat rescue and special operations support helicopters during fiscal 2019, according to the service’s 2019 budget document.
The HH-60H is the last of the original Sikorsky Seahawk helicopter variants procured beginning in the 1980s that remain in operational Navy service, the SH-60B and SH-60F having been retired in 2015 and 2016, respectively. The HH-60H is used by one reserve helicopter sea combat (HSC) squadron, HSC-85, based at Naval Air Station North Island, California, as well as for type training by HSC-3.
The HH-60H previously was flown by HSC-84, as well as by several fleet helicopter antisubmarine squadrons along with their SH-60Fs. The HH-60H was used extensively in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom in support of special operations forces.
According to the budget document, the HH-60H will be replaced by the current generation of Seahawk, the MH-60S, which was the original selection for replacement in the early 2000s but delayed. The newer MH-60S, a hybrid of the Seahawk and Black Hawk, can make steeper approaches to a landing zone because of the farther aft location of its tailwheel, among other advantages.