The first production Knighthawk flew in January of 2000 and was delivered to the Navy in 2001. The Coastal Rangers MH-60S Knighthawk was one of the first prototype models that was produced and they acquired it by LtCol. “Mad Max” Campbell calling in some pretty huge favours. It is a demilitarized helicopter with no armaments.
Airframe and general capabilities:
The MH-60S Knighthawk is a twin-engined medium lift utility helicopter. It is equipped with a single 4-bladed rotor and a single 4-bladed tail rotor. The basic crew compliment for the MH-60S is four; pilot, co-pilot, crew chief and gunner.
Externally, the MH-60S is based on the Army UH-60L Blackhawk cargo/transport helicopter. The MH-60S retains the twin cargo compartment doors, one located on each side of the cargo compartment, of the Army helicopter, as well as the enlarged internal cargo area and internal fuel layout. In addition, the Knighthawk retains the extended reverse tricycle landing gear arrangement of the land-based helicopter, the hover IR suppression system for the engines, the high capacity external cargo hook (9,000 pounds), and is ESSS (external stores support system) capable, which will enable the Knighthawk to mount additional fuel tanks. Incorporated into the UH-60L airframe are the SH-60F style doors for the pilot and co-pilot, the navalized variants of the General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshaft engines, the folding tailplane, the automatic rotor folding mechanism and rotor brake, the 600 pound capacity rescue hoist (mounted on the right-hand side of the aircraft) the hover in-flight refueling system (HIFR) and fuel dumping capability, as well as the heavy duty transmission, drive train and avionics.
In the cargo/ personnel transport role, the MH-60S can accommodate up to 13 passengers (excluding crew) 6 medical litters or two cargo pallets totaling a maximum of 4,000 pounds internally. The Knighthawk can carry up to 9,000 pounds externally via its cargo hook, with a total payload capacity (internal and external) of 10,000 pounds.
The MH-60S is the first naval helicopter to be built from the frame up incorporating the MH-60 common “glass cockpit” design. This system replaces most of the analog aircraft instruments with four active matrix liquid crystal color displays and dual programmable operator keysets. In addition, the cockpit is fully NVG compatible, which will enable the aircrew to effectively operate the helicopter in low visibility conditions.
The MH-60S Knighthawk is equipped with two 1,800 shp General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshaft engines. Internal fuel is stored in two crashworthy fuel tanks and totals 360 gallons. In addition, the Knighthawk can accommodate two additional internal auxiliary fuel tanks, each rated at 200 gallons.
The empty weight of the MH-60S is 13,648 pounds, while the maximum take off weight is 23,500 pounds. The external cargo carrying capacity (cargo hook) is 9,000 pounds and the internal cargo capacity is 4,000 pounds. Total lift capacity is 10,000 pounds
The maximum level speed of the MH-60S is 145 knots (167 miles per hour) while the cruising speed is 139 knots (160 miles per hour.)
The maximum range of the MH-60S on internal fuel and at maximum take-off weight is 245 nautical miles (278 statute miles.)
The MH-60S is equipped with VHF-FM, UHF-FM, and VHF-AM/FM radios, as well as encrypted IFF recognition system. For navigation the Knighthawk relies on the Litton LN-100G dual embedded global positioning system and inertial navigation system.
The Coastal Rangers’ MH-60S is unarmed but they were able to keep the self-defense electronics and their Knighthawk is equipped with the AN/APR-39(V)1 radar-warning receiver and the AN/ALQ-144(V)6 IR countermeasures set.