The US Navy Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 7 based at Naval Station Norfolk has fired an HSC advanced precision kill weapon system II (APKWS II) from an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter during a live-fire exercise.
HSC 7, also known as the Dusty Dogs, has now become the first helicopter squadron in the Northeast to fire an APKWS II from an MH-60S Seahawk.
The exercise was part of the HSC-7 work-up cycle in preparation for deployment in the 5th Fleet area of operation with the USS Dwight D Eisenhower (CVN 69) Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10.
HSC-7 tactics officer lieutenant Erik Gustafson said: "The event allowed HSC-7 crews to build proficiency in employing the system before we commence joint training with our Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3 counterpart, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 74.
"Together, we will provide CVW-3, CVN-69 and the whole CSG-10 team with an unmatched anti-surface warfare capability."
During the exercise, the Dusty Dogs deployed two helicopters at a practice range approximately 20 miles off the Virginia coast near Naval Air Station Oceana.
One helicopter carried out combat manoeuvres and fired the APKWS II at both stationary and moving targets, while the other served as a support aircraft, with an observing training officer and two rescue swimmers aboard.
The APKWS II is a laser-guided rocket, which serves as a low-cost, high-accuracy variant to the Hellfire missiles that have previously been used against lightly armoured targets.
Gustafson added: "The MH-60S will employ APKWS II along with its existing 20mm cannon, 2.75in unguided rockets, Hellfire missiles, and crew-served door guns, providing the warfare commander with a lethal and effective helicopter weapons system."
Image: Sikorsky MH-60 Seahawk helicopter is capable of performing missions such as vertical replenishment, search-and-rescue, regional security, medical evacuations. Photo: courtesy of Tech Sgt Tony Tolley.