Airbus Helicopters HH-65 Dolphin Review, Top Speed, Unit Cost, Manufacturer – The Airbus HH-65 is a twin-engine search and rescue helicopter used by the United States Coast Guard (USCG).
Airbus Helicopters HH-65 Dolphin Review, Top Speed, Unit Cost, Manufacturer
|Type||Eurocopter MH-65 Dolphin|
|Unit Cost||$ 9 million|
|Year of development||2005|
|Manufacturer||Airbus Helicopters / Aérospatiale / Airbus Helicopters|
|Engine||Two Turbomeca Arriel 2C2 turboshaft engines (853 hp) drive the four-bladed main rotor and the fenestron tail rotor|
|Top Speed||135 mph (217 km/h)|
MilitaryEzyInfo.com – The HH-65 Dolphin is based on the French Eurocopter Dauphine (AS 365N) and uses the same designation, but its translation and function are primarily to be a special rescue helicopter designated for the official Short Range Recovery (SRR) helicopter classification.
The HH-65 Dolphin is based on the French Aerospatiale/Eurocopter system but was manufactured in the United States by Eurocopter, Textron Lycoming (turbine engines), and Rockwell Collins (electronic systems).
The first flight was made in 1980, and full-scale operations began in 1985. It is still in operation with the US Coast Guard, and the Coast Guard has about 102 HH-65 Dolphins in service.
In terms of design, it shares many features with its French sibling, the Eurocopter Dauphin. The design of this aircraft features a low cockpit with a small pointed assembly and a covered fenestrated tail.
The landing gear is fully retractable and consists of two single-wheel main landing gears and two-wheel nose gears. The engine is mounted on the starboard side, above the cockpit, about halfway up the structure.
Its fuselage is seamlessly integrated into a slender profile with a single vertical tail (above the fenestron shroud) and horizontal tail panels.
It is powered by a twin-turbocharged Merka Ariel 2C2-CG turboshaft producing up to 934 shaft horsepower, driving a four-bladed main rotor made of corrosion-resistant composite material.
It has a top speed of 184 mph, a range of 409 miles, and a service altitude of 15,000 feet. The Dolphin weighs about 6,333 pounds empty and has a maximum takeoff weight of 9,480 pounds.
As well as the main rotor, the fuselage and rotor head are made of corrosion-resistant materials to allow operation in salty seas. In fact, this type of composite structure accounts for about 75% of helicopter designs.
The crew of a typical HH-65 model is a pilot, co-pilot, flight mechanic/flight engineer, and rescue swimmer. Visibility is considered to be very good due to the extensive use of glass in the front, sides, and top of the cockpit.
The flight mechanic’s seat can be slid from one side of the cockpit to the other along the rails as needed. The Dolphin was initially designed with a red, white, and black color scheme, but was later changed to the more common red (with the bow and exhaust vents remaining black) in order to make it visually easier to identify it as an icebreaker.
This color change also reduced the aircraft’s maintenance time by three days.
The Dolphin has a versatile operational capability, with an autopilot system that allows the aircraft to be raised or flown in certain modes without the need for pilot intervention.
This allows the pilot to perform other tasks, which is especially useful when searching for people or ships in the sea.
Dolphin breeding is usually done at shore bases, but Coast Guard vessels are designed with the species in mind.
Since then, four major versions of the HH-65 have been deployed. The initial production version entered service in 1985 as the HH-65A, powered by two LTS101-750B-2 series turboshaft engines (735 hp each).
This was followed in 2001 by the upgraded HH-65B with dual GPS and two cockpit-mounted multi-function flat panel displays.
If there was a weakness in the previous Dolphin system, it was the Lycoming engine, which prompted the USCG to look into other methods of power generation.