HS-11 conducts Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) in the SH-60F. The helicopter uses an Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS) to enable it to fly an automatic approach to a hover day or night, and in all weather. Once in a hover, dipping sonar is used to actively search, detect, and track submarines. In addition to its sonar, the SH-60F can carry active and passive sonobuoys. To attack a submerged target, the SH-60 can carry torpedoes and can launch them in flight or from a hover.
This helicopter is one of many Naval assets that conduct ASW. Due to the dipping sonar and superior crew training, the SH-60F is the vehicle of choice to successfully detect and destroy enemy submarines.
Combat Search and Rescue and Naval Special Warfare
HS-11 conducts Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) and Naval Special Warfare (NSW) in the HH-60H. This aircraft can carry a squad of SEALS with all their combat gear and insert or extract them behind enemy lines. CSAR missions are designed to recover personnel from hostile territory.
To enhance aircraft survivability for these missions, the HH-60H is designed with some special equipment. To protect itself against Infrared (heat seeking) missiles, the helicopter’s engines have a Hover Infrared Suppression System (HIRSS) to reduce its heat signature. It also carries an infrared jammer to confuse or distract incoming infrared missiles. The chaff dispenser and the radar-warning receiver give the helicopter a measure of self-protection from radar guided missiles. Low level flying and terrain masking along with careful planning are essential in successful mission accomplishment.
Both the SH-60F and the HH-60H have the ability to conduct Vertical Replenishment (VERTREP) and Anti-Ship Missile Defense (ASMD). They can also provide passenger and cargo transfer capability to the various surface combatants and combat logistics ships in the battle group.
General Characteristics, SH-60
- Builder: Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation
- Unit Cost: About $4.5 billion each.
- Propulsion: Two General Electric T700-GE-700 or T700-GE-701C engines; thrust: up to 1,940 shaft horsepower.
- Length: 64 feet 10 inches (19.6 meters).
- Rotor Diameter: 53 feet 8 inches (16.4 meters).
- Weight: Varies; 21,000 to 23,000 pounds (9,450 to 10,350 kg).
- Airspeed: 180 knots maximum.
- Range: Generally about 380 nautical miles (600 km); range becomes unlimited with air refueling capability.
Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron ELEVEN was established on 27 June 1957 at Naval Air Station (NAS) Quonset Point, Rhode Island. The squadron first flew the Sikorsky HSS-1 Seabat (later re-designated the SH-34) helicopter under the radio call sign “Snowbound.” The primary mission of the Seabat was Antisubmarine Warfare (ASW) and it was equipped with a dipping sonar. Later models of the Seabat were upgraded with Doppler radar and automatic stabilization and hover capabilities for all-weather operations. The HS-11 Sub Seekers were assigned to Carrier Anti-Submarine Air Group 52 (CVSG-52) with tail code AS and deployed onboard USS WASP (CVS 18).
In 1962, the squadron transitioned to the Sikorsky twin engine SH-3A Sea King and would later upgrade to the SH-3D and SH-3H in 1969 and 1980, respectively. In December 1969, HS-11 would become the first ASW helicopter squadron to deploy as part of a modern carrier air wing with CVW-17 onboard USS FORRESTAL (CVA 59). From 1970-1973, HS-11 was assigned to CVSG-56 deploying onboard USS INTREPID (CVS 11) with tail code AU. On 17 October 1973, HS-11 moved to its new homeport of NAS Jacksonville and was re-assigned to Carrier Air Wing ONE (CVW-1) where it remains assigned to this day. In 1989, HS-11 changed its official call sign to Dragonslayer. HS-11 would make deployments onboard USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV 67), USS AMERICA (CV 66), USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (CVN 73), USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN 71), and USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65). HS-11 is currently assigned to the ENTERPRISE Carrier Strike Group.
In 1994, HS-11 transitioned to the Sikorsky SH-60F and HH-60H Seahawk, the current aircraft in use today by the Dragonslayers. The capabilities of this latest airframe allowed the squadron to greatly expand its mission areas. In addition to ASW and Search and Rescue, the Dragonslayers now added such missions as Vertical Replenishment, Naval Special Warfare Support, and Combat Search and Rescue to its capabilities. With the addition of the Hellfire missile system and GAU-16 .50 caliber machine gun in 1999, HS-11 became capable of effectively conducting Antisurface Warfare.
The Dragonslayer history has many distinguished highlights. In November 1962, HS-11 sailed to the Caribbean onboard USS WASP to enforce the Cuban quarantine. Later that decade, the squadron played a leading role in astronaut recovery operations during the Gemini missions, plucking from the sea such famed astronauts as White, McDivitt, Lovell, and Aldrin. In 1976, the squadron was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for saving countless lives after ship collisions at sea while attached to USS JOHN F KENNEDY. Over the years, HS-11 has the answered the domestic call for help numerous times in support of hurricane relief efforts, including Hurricane Andrew in 1993 and in 1999 the squadron rescued nine men whose ship was sunk during Hurricane Floyd in winds over 50 knots and seas measuring 30 feet. Most recently, HS-11 was the first Navy squadron on-station just hours after Hurricane Ike swept through Galveston, TX in September 2008. In January 2010, the squadron detached four aircraft onboard USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70) and sailed to Haiti in support of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief operations following a massive earthquake.