PATUXENT RIVER, Md., April 8 (UPI) -- U.S. Navy anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare helicopters are being equipped with Digital Rocket Launchers as part of an early operational capability.
Naval Air Systems Command said the EOC is part of a program by the program offices of the Rapid Deployment Capability Team (PMA-299) and the Direct Time and Sensitive Strike Weapons unit (PMA-24) to better enable MH-60R Seahawks to combat threats from fast attack and fast inshore attack craft.
"The DRL enables the MH-60R to carry the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System," said D'Ann Morris, MH-60 Weapons integrated product team co-lead for PMA-299. "This allows for a greater number of precision guided munitions to be used against the threat during a single attack. So not only do we reduce the number of attacks needed to accomplish a given mission, but we decrease operational cost, increase warfighting effectiveness, and enhance crew safety."
Equipping the R variant Seahawks follows EOC integration of DRL systems onto S variant multi-purpose MH-60 aircraft last year.
Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron, onboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis, will be the first MH-60R squadron to deploy with the DRL, the Navy said. All MH-60R squadrons will be equipped with the co-called smart launchers by the end of fiscal 2018.