Incorporated in 2012, these modern helicopters are capable of operating at night
By Agência Marinha de Notícias – Rio de Janeiro, RJ
The milestone of 10,000 flight hours by the SH-16 “Seahawk” aircraft of the Brazilian Navy (MB) was reached last Tuesday night (31), during a training flight with Night Vision Goggles in São Pedro da Aldeia (RJ). The 1st Anti-submarine Helicopter Squadron (EsqdHS-1) is one of the benchmarks in the use of this equipment in flight and has been expanding its operational capacity with the aircraft, training pilots and sensor operators.
Since its incorporation on Naval Aviator’s Day in 2012, the “Seahawk” has been used in various missions, as explained by the Commander of EsqdHS-1, Frigate Captain Fabiano Dias. “One of the characteristics of the ‘SH-16’ is its ability to be used in various scenarios, such as warfare above and below water, electronic reconnaissance missions, monitoring contacts of interest using its various sensors and logistical operations. All this combined with its considerable endurance and autonomy, he said.
On reaching the milestone of 10,000 hours flown by the “Seahawk”, the ‘HS-1’ Squadron has made a total of more than 1900 landings on board Brazilian Fleet ships, of which more than 200 were at night, carried out with Night Vision Goggles. Among the missions carried out, nine real weapons launches were made using the “Penguin” air-to-surface missile, two “MK-46” torpedoes with exercise heads, as well as “chaff” and “flare” launches and the use of the “7.62 mm – MAG” side machine gun.
“In addition to the aircraft’s operational capacity, I would like to highlight its leading role in relevant recent episodes, such as the oil spill off the coast of Brazil in 2019, when the ‘SH-16’ was used, making use of its great autonomy, to identify pollution hotspots in the Blue Amazon,” said the Squadron Commander.
The aircraft was also used to support victims of the rains in Petrópolis and Angra dos Reis, both in Rio de Janeiro, in 2022, and on the northern coast of the state of São Paulo, in 2023.
“The ‘Seahawk’ has been used in several rescues at sea, supporting the Navy’s Search and Rescue Service (Salvamar). I would highlight the case of the fishing vessel ‘Beira Mar XXV’, on the night of August 12, 2016, when three shipwrecked people were rescued alive,” he recalled. The episode cited by Commander Fabiano Dias was recognized internationally with the USCG – Captain William J. Kossler award, presented by AHS International (“American Helicopter Society International”), for the greatest achievement in the practical application or operation of vertical flight aircraft, the value of which has been demonstrated in actual service.