MEDEVAC’s New Ride

“It’s like going from a ’67 Buick to jumping into a brand new Cadillac,” said Sgt. David Diminico, an HH-60M crewmember.

Cool. Readers of the blog know we’re longtime fans of the H-60 family of Hawk helicopters. They are just about the most versatile helos ever built. Since the UH-60A was introduced in the early 1980s, they’ve been in continuous production, and they’ve been continuously improved. The basic transport model currently in production and entering service is the UH-60M. Major changes from the UH-60L include new engines, a new transmission, wider chord rotor blades (I suspect just maybe the Army has been trying to improve the Blackhawk’s high altitude performance, given the challenges it faces in Afghanistan) and an all new digital flight deck.

Taking those airframe improvements, and equipping the cargo cabin with what is in effect a flying hospital suite gives you the HH-60M medical evacuation version. And any improvement to the Army’s ability to provide rapid evacuation of casualties from the battlefield is very welcome.

5 thoughts on “MEDEVAC’s New Ride”

    1. I can’t say I really know much about it. It always seemed to make sense to me to merge the B/F roles, but I’m hardly an expert in helo ASW. But from a management standpoint, necking down from about 5 platforms to the R/S makes sense.

      Of course, the airframe is the easy part. Getting an MH-60R to do ASW, ASUW, airborne mine clearing, and goodness knows what other roles they have in mind, and being suitable for deployment off CVNs and from tin cans is a lot to ask from one set of avionics.

      IIRC, the philosophy back in the SH-3/SH-2 days was that SH-3s from the carrier prosecuted contacts pretty much independently, whereas most of the signal processing from LAMPS went back to the ship. How that works today is beyond my scope. I know ASW is one of the most cerebral forms of warfare around, and I’ll leave it to you blackshoes to put us some knowledge.

  1. As I look at this aircraft, I believe we’ll look back at it much like we look back at the B-52 or C-130 is not just the back at this aircraft and not say is a great aircraft. In my view, some aircraft are just “Mission Oriented Specific”. But there are some aircraft that transcend this level. I look at this bird and see one that will live on in history it will have its own legacy. As we look to rebuild our force, including the airframes, we need to walk at multi–functional platforms, from which we can operate. Somebody get a hold of a note book and record what we are doing. Then, put all of the notes in a “Lessons–to–be–Learned File”. Many different types of aircraft are designed over a person’s lifetime but very few live long enough to be considered “Legacy-Platforms”. We now have a chance to build a “legacy–plat form aircraft”, let’s do it right.

    1. Well, there’s a remarkable history of generally sound aircraft designs being very adaptable and versatile. As you mention, the B-52 and the C-130. The UH-1 and the H-60 of course also apply.

      But when we look at the history of aircraft designed from the start to perform multiple roles, we see almost nothing but abject failure, or at best, deeply flawed compromises.

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