After more than 30 years of service with the U.S. Navy, the HH-60H Seahawk helicopter conducted her last flight on May 13 at Naval Air Station North Island.
The HH-60H Seahawk, which is based on Sikorsky SH-60F Seahawk, was the Navy’s primary Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), Naval Special Warfare (NSW) and Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) helicopter.
The HH-60H was developed in conjunction with the U.S. Coast Guard’s HH-60J Jayhawk multi-mission helicopter, beginning in September 1986 with a contract for the first five helicopters with Sikorsky as the prime contractor. The HH-60H’s official DoD and Sikorsky name is Seahawk, though it has been called “Rescue Hawk”.
The helicopter’s first flight took place on Aug. 17, 1988, and deliveries to the Navy began in 1989. It earned initial operating capability in April of 1990, and deployed to Operation Desert Storm with HCS-4 and HCS-5 in 1991.
The helicopter was originally operated by HCS-4 and HCS-5, two Naval Reserve squadrons established with the primary mission of NSW and CSAR. It was also operated by Helicopter Antisubmarine (HS) squadrons, before the HS mission eventually transitioned to Helicopter Sea Combat (HSC) squadrons, equipped with the MH-60S.
Through the U.S. Coast Guard’s Service Life Extension Program (SLEP), the Navy’s remaining HH-60Hs will be structurally converted to the MH-60T Jayhawk configuration, and will continue to serve the Nation as part of the Coast Guard’s medium range recovery helicopter fleet.