Romeos Proving Reliable In Pacific


HONOLULU, Hawaii – Having proven their worth for antisubmarine warfare (ASW) operations, the MH-60R, or Romeo, helicopters are also impressing Pacific-based crews with their ability to fly when needed.

“We’ve had great reliability with these new helicopters,” says Cmdr. Brannon Bickel, executive officer of the Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM)-37, stationed at Kaneohe Bay.

The Romeo shift is mirroring the official shift to the HSM setup from the Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron Light. (HSL)

HSM-37 started to transition from SH-60B, or Bravo, models in the fall. HSM-37 will operate as a composite squadron, still providing legacy SH-60B support to the fleet during the transition to the MH-60R throughout 2014.

The Romeos feature a host of technological advancements, included a glass cockpit that offers more tactical information more quickly, efficiently and accurately.

“Instead of looking at analog gauges,” Bickel says, “we’re looking at an all-digital cockpit.”

Sometimes there can be some information overload as pilots make the shift, officials say. However, the glass cockpit makes it possible for the Romeo crew to be more flexible.

In the Bravo models, for example, notes Cmdr. Daniel Nowicki, HMS-37 commanding officer, the crewmembers’ responsibilities are in large part determined by where they sit in the helicopter. That is not the case in a Romeo. “In a Romeo, it’s interchangeable,” Nowicki says.

That kind of flexibility requires intense training.

The Romeo’s technological advancements – especially in ASW – make it worth the effort. Besides the glass cockpit displays, the aircraft also feature upgraded radar, an improved avionics suite, defensive countermeasures, a multispectral targeting system (MTS), an acoustics processor upgrade, and dipping sonar.

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