HH-60J / MH-60T Jayhawk
A HH-60J Jayhawk from CG Air Station Astoria
Role Medium-range recovery helicopter[1]
Manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft
First flight 8 August 1989
Status In service
Primary user United States Coast Guard
Produced 1990–1996
Number built 42 (+ 6 conversions)[2]
Developed from Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk

The Sikorsky MH-60T Jayhawk is a multi-mission, twin-engine, medium-range helicopter operated by the United States Coast Guard for search and rescue, law enforcement, military readiness and marine environmental protection missions. It was originally designated HH-60J before being upgraded and redesignated in 2007.[3]

Chosen to replace the HH-3F Pelican, the MH-60T is a member of the Sikorsky S-70 family of helicopters and is based on the United States Navy's SH-60 Seahawk helicopter.[1] Development began in September 1986, first flight was achieved on 8 August 1989, and the first HH-60J entered USCG service in June 1990. Production ended in 1996 after 42 helicopters were produced; six retired SH-60F Seahawks were also remanufactured to MH-60T specifications beginning in 2010.[2][4][5]

In 2017, the USCG established a Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) to extend the service life of its current MH-60T fleet by rebuilding the aircraft with replacement aircraft hulls sourced from newly manufactured hulls from Lockheed Martin or conversion of retired US Navy aircraft. In 2023, the USCG obtained approval to begin acquisition of 12 additional MH-60T to replace some MH-65 aircraft. The USCG plans to eventually transition to an all MH-60T fleet.[6]


Chosen to replace the HH-3F Pelican, the HH-60J was based on the United States Navy's SH-60 Seahawk and a member of the Sikorsky S-70 helicopter family. Compared to its predecessor, the HH-3F, the HH-60J is lighter, faster, and equipped with more sophisticated electronics and more powerful engines.[1] The HH-60J was developed in conjunction with the U.S. Navy's HH-60H Rescue Hawk.[7]

Sikorsky HH-60J Jayhawk (USCG registration number 6008) on the tarmac at Coast Guard Air Station Astoria, Oregon

Sikorsky began development in September 1986 and aircraft registration number 6001 achieved first flight on 8 August 1989. The first aircraft was delivered to the USCG for developmental testing in March 1990 at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. In March 1991, ATC Mobile, Alabama became the first USCG unit to fly the HH-60J, allowing instructor pilots to prepare for pilot training. Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina was the first USCG operational unit to fly the HH-60J.[1] Sikorsky produced 42 HH-60Js with sequential registration numbers from 6001 through 6042.[8] Sikorsky ended production in 1996 after completing the 42 units on contract. Subsequently, the Coast Guard has converted six ex-Navy SH-60F Seahawks into MH-60T Jayhawks (registration numbers 6043-6048) to replace attrition and expand fleet.[2][4][9]

MH-60T upgrade program

The USCG began converting its 42 HH-60Js to MH-60Ts in January 2007. This avionics and capabilities upgrade is part of the USCG's Integrated Deepwater System Program and provide a glass cockpit, an enhanced electro-optic/infrared sensor system as well as a radar sensor system and airborne use of force capability.[10][11] The airborne use of force package includes both weapons for firing warning and disabling shots and armor to protect the aircrew from small arms fire.[3][12] The MH-60T upgrades were completed in February 2014.[13]


A MH-60J from Air Station Kodiak

The normal cruising speed of the MH-60T is 135 to 140 kn (155 to 161 mph; 250 to 259 km/h) and the aircraft is capable of reaching 180 kn (207 mph; 333 km/h) for short durations. It can fly at 140 kn (161 mph; 259 km/h) for six to seven hours.[14] With a fuel capacity of 6,460 lb (2,930 kg), the helicopter is designed to fly a crew of four up to 300 mi (483 km) offshore, hoist up to six additional people on board while remaining on-scene for up to 45 minutes and return to base while maintaining an adequate fuel reserve.[14]

The Jayhawk has a radar for search/weather that gives its nose a distinctive look. A forward looking infrared (FLIR) sensor turret can be mounted below its nose. It can carry three 120 US gal (454 L) fuel tanks with two on the port side rack and one on the starboard side rack. The starboard side also carries a 600 lbf (2.67 kN) capacity rescue hoist mounted above the door. The hoist has 200 ft (61.0 m) of cable.[7] It uses the NAVSTAR Global Positioning System as its primary long range navigational aid, using a Collins RCVR-3A radio to simultaneously receive information from four of the NAVSTAR system's 18 worldwide satellites. The helicopter is normally based on land but can be based on 270 foot medium endurance Coast Guard Cutters (WMEC) or 418 foot Legend-Class National Security Cutters (WMSL) .

The MH-60T is equipped with a 7.62 mm M240H medium machine gun and a .50 in Barrett M82 semi-automatic rifle for firing warning and disabling shots.[12] These weapons also serve as defensive armament.[15]

Operational history

This section needs expansion with: Add more general operational use information. You can help by adding to it. (March 2015)
Haitian earthquake victims are unloaded from a HH-60J at U.S. Naval Hospital Guantanamo Bay.

In 1990, HH-60J Jayhawks began replacing HH-3F Pelican and CH-3E Sea King helicopters in service with the US Coast Guard. HH-60Js perform search and rescue missions, along with other missions such as maritime patrol and drug interdiction.[16] Coast Guard cutters with their HH-60Js and other helicopters performed security and interdiction in the Persian Gulf in 1991 in support of Operation Desert Storm and also in 2003 for Operation Enduring Freedom.[16]

Starting in 2009, Coast Guard Jayhawks have been tasked with a secondary mission of drug patrol/enforcement. These missions are usually conducted in cooperation with Coast Guard cutters.[citation needed]

In 2016, some Jayhawks were delivered in a yellow color scheme celebrating 100 years of Coast Guard aviation. The yellow color scheme represented colors used on certain Coast Guard and Navy helicopters in the 1940s and 1950s. The first of the operational aircraft in this color scheme was delivered to Air Station Astoria in Oregon on 15 January 2016.[17] The Jayhawk along with the Eurocopter MH-65 Dolphin are the two helicopter types in the Coast Guard inventory.

On 21 October 2023, a USCG Jawhawk operating from Air Station Elizabeth City was used to rescue four Canadian mariners from an overturned 60-foot catamaran, about 140 miles southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina.[18]


Medium range recovery helicopter. 42 units delivered to the USCG between 1990 and 1996.
Medium range recovery helicopter. 39 surviving HH-60J airframes received upgraded avionics and operational capabilities, including armaments, from 2007 to 2014.[11] Six SH-60Fs have also been converted to MH-60T specifications.[2][4] 45 active aircraft as of March 2024.[19] Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) began in 2017 to provide 12,000 to 20,000 hours of available service life to each aircraft. In 2023, USCG received approval to transition to an all MH-60T rotary fleet, and grow fleet to 127 aircraft.[6]


A Jayhawk retrieves a rescue swimmer
 United States


As of July 2010, three Jayhawks have been involved in crashes, including two fatal crashes.[21][22][23] Four Coast Guardsmen were hospitalized after a crash on 13 November 2023 during a search and rescue mission near Read Island, Alaska.[24]

Specifications (HH-60J)

Most data is for HH-60J with data for MH-60T noted below.

Data from USCG HH-60J information,[14] Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk information,[25][26] Globalsecurity.org HH-60J specifications[27]

General characteristics



See also

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists


  1. ^ a b c d "HH-60J "Jayhawk"". Naval Supply Systems Command website. Naval Supply Systems Command. Archived from the original on 8 July 2010. Retrieved 7 July 2010. Jayhawks have replaced the Sikorsky HH-3F Pelican helicopters ...
  2. ^ a b c d "Ex-Navy Helos Providing Folding Rotors, Tails for Cutter-Deploying H-60 Helos". Seapower Magazine. 16 March 2021. Archived from the original on 17 March 2021. Retrieved 6 March 2024.
  3. ^ a b "Acquisition Directorate - MH-60T Medium Range Recovery Helicopter" (PDF). United States Coast Guard. November 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 November 2010. Retrieved 7 July 2010. All 42 H-60 aircraft are scheduled to be modernized by 2015
  4. ^ a b c "2010 Innovation Award Winner: Science or Technology, SH-60F to MH-60T Conversion Process". US Coast Guard. 4 April 2014. Archived from the original on 27 April 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2024.
  5. ^ "Office of Aviation Forces (CG-711), MH-60T: Jayhawk". US Coast Guard. 12 September 2012. Archived from the original on 28 January 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Coast Guard takes next steps toward all MH-60T helicopter fleet". US Coast Guard. 23 January 2024. Archived from the original on 5 March 2024. Retrieved 5 March 2024.
  7. ^ a b Leoni, Ray D. Black Hawk, The Story of a World Class Helicopter, pp. 212-213. American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2007. ISBN 978-1-56347-918-2.
  8. ^ "Sikorsky HH-60J Jayhawk". Helis.com. Archived from the original on 13 May 2010. Retrieved 7 July 2010. 42 delivered from 1990. 1 written off.
  9. ^ "Sikorsky HH/MH-60 Jayhawk in US Coast Guard". Helicopter History Site. Archived from the original on 9 May 2023. Retrieved 6 March 2024.
  10. ^ "Acquisition Directorate - Medium Range Recovery Helicopter". United States Coast Guard. Archived from the original on 2 August 2010. Retrieved 7 July 2010. The MH-60T project will upgrade 42 in-service HH-60J helicopters ...
  11. ^ a b "Acquisition Directorate, January/February (2007) Newsletter". US Coast Guard. February 2007. Archived from the original on 18 September 2008. Retrieved 18 September 2008.
  12. ^ a b c d "Acquisition Update: "T" It Up: First Production MH-60T Medium Range Recovery Helicopter Delivered to Coast Guard". United States Coast Guard website. United States Coast Guard. 9 June 2009. Archived from the original on 30 November 2010. Retrieved 8 July 2010. The AUF package equips the MH-60T with a 7.62mm machine gun for firing warning shots and a .50 caliber long range rifle for precise targeting...
  13. ^ Acquisition Update: Final Jayhawk Completes Conversion to MH-60T Model Archived 27 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine. U.S. Coast Guard, 19 February 2014.
  14. ^ a b c Thirteenth Coast Guard District Public Affairs Office (21 April 2003). "Jayhawk - HH-60J Helicopter" (PDF). United States Coast Guard website. United States Coast Guard. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2010. ...carry out the Coast Guard's search and rescue, law enforcement, military readiness and marine environmental protection missions...
  15. ^ "Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron" (PDF). USCG.mil. USCG. Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 January 2017. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  16. ^ a b Tomajczyk, Stephen F. Black Hawk, pp. 74-74. MBI, 2003. ISBN 0-7603-1591-4.
  17. ^ "US Coast Guard helos turn yellow".
  18. ^ "VIDEO AVAILABLE: Coast Guard rescues 4 Canadians from capsized catamaran 150 miles offshore of North Carolina". US Coast Guard Press Releases. US Coast Guard. Retrieved 23 October 2023.
  19. ^ a b "Coast Guard Operational Assets". US Coast Guard. Archived from the original on 30 November 2023. Retrieved 5 March 2024.
  20. ^ "Office of Aviation Forces (CG-711) "Jayhawk"". uscg.mil. Archived from the original on 28 January 2013. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
  21. ^ Freeze, Ken. "Fatal Coast Guard Aircraft Accidents". check-six.com. Check Six. Archived from the original on 19 October 2010. Retrieved 7 July 2010. Date of incident: 8 December 2004....Aircraft type and Coast Guard tail number: Sikorsky HH-60 Jayhawk, 6020
  22. ^ Liesik, Geoff (5 March 2010). "U.S. Coast Guard team to probe Uinta Mountains crash". Deseret News. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret News Publishing Co. Archived from the original on 15 July 2010. Retrieved 7 July 2010. The Jayhawk that crashed was one of two returning to North Carolina from Washington state.... It was last heard from just before 10 a.m. Wednesday.
  23. ^ Green, Sara Jean (7 July 2010). "3 dead in Coast Guard copter crash off La Push". Seattle Times. Seattle, WA: The Seattle Times Company. Archived from the original on 10 July 2010. Retrieved 7 July 2010. The MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crashed around 9:30 a.m. off James Island near the mouth of the Quillayute River at the northwest tip of Washington state.
  24. ^ [1]
  25. ^ S-70B Seahawk Technical Information, 2001.
  26. ^ "S-70B Seahawk Helicopter Technical Information S70-064 1438 3C" (PDF). Sikorsky Aircraft. January 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 January 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
  27. ^ Pike, John. "HH-60J Jayhawk Specifications". GlobalSecurity.org. Archived from the original on 23 October 2005. Retrieved 7 July 2010.