US Navy Sea Combat Squadron 4 MH-60S Helicopter Conduct Live Firing Exercise
US Navy Sea Combat Squadron 4 MH-60S Helicopter Conduct Live Firing Exercise

US Navy Sea Combat Squadron 4 MH-60S Helicopter Conduct Live Firing Exercise

A MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter, with the “Black Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 4, conducts a live-fire training exercise near U.S. Naval Air Station Fallon. Naval Air Station Fallon or NAS Fallon is the United States Navy’s premier air-to-air and air-to-ground training facility. It is located southeast of the city of Fallon in western Nevada. It is also home to the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center (NAWDC), which includes TOPGUN, the Carrier Airborne Early Warning Weapons School (CAEWWS) and the Navy Rotary Wing Weapons School.

U.S. Navy Sea Combat Squadron 4 “MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter conduct live firing exercise. (Photo by U.S. Navy)

Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Four (HSC-4) also known as the Black Knights, is a multi-role combat helicopter squadron of the United States Navy based at Naval Air Station North Island which operates Sikorsky MH-60S Seahawk helicopters deployed aboard aircraft carriers. The squadron was originally established as HS-4 on 30 June 1952 at U.S. Naval Auxiliary Landing Field Imperial Beach with the Sikorsky HO3S-1 and was redesignated HSC-4 on March 29, 2012. It is currently assigned to Carrier Air Wing Two (CVW-2) which deploys aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70).

U.S. Navy Sea Combat Squadron 4 “MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter conduct live firing exercise. (Photo by U.S. Navy)

The multi-mission Sikorsky MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter entered service in February 2002. The US Navy uses the MH-60S helicopters to carry out missions such as vertical replenishment, combat search and rescue, special warfare support and airborne mine countermeasures. The structure of the MH-60S is based on the proven design features of the UH-60L Black Hawk and the naval variant, the SH-60B Seahawk. The helicopter uses the baseline structure of the Black Hawk with Seahawk T-700-GE-401C engines, hover-in-flight refuelling and fuel dumping.

U.S. Navy Sea Combat Squadron 4 “MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter conduct live firing exercise. (Photo by U.S. Navy)

In the combat search and rescue role, the MH-60S replaced the HH-60H in 2007. Lockheed Martin was awarded a contract in December 2004 to integrate the armed helicopter mission kit on the CSAR MH-60S. The kit includes a digital map, AN/AAS-44 FLIR, the electronic warfare self-defence suite fitted on the MH-60R, an additional pylon to carry Hellfire air-to-surface missiles and mk54 digital torpedo, and crew-served weapons, including 7.62mm guns from port and starboard cabin windows and 0.50-calibre guns from the port and starboard cabin doors.