The US Navy (USN) delivered, installed, and demonstrated the first two redesigned Sikorsky MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter gunner seats on 24–25 September to Helicopter Sea Combat Wing Pacific (HSCWP) at Naval Air Station North Island in California, according to a service statement.
The original MH-60S gunner seat was considered uncomfortable for aircrew to sit in for any length of time and became detrimental to aircrew long-term health. This redesign focused on providing better crash protection and improving aircrew endurance.
The MH-60S gunner seat redesign has adjustable lumbar support, height adjustments, and energy absorbers with selectable weight profile integrated into the seat. These redesigned features provide a seat that is not only crashworthy but also comfortable for aircrew to sit in for many hours at a time.
The USN’s Aircrew Systems Program Office (ASPO) used an innovative approach and formed a gunner seat task force to enable the fleet to provide real-time input during each step of the seat prototype’s development. The integrated product team responsible for the redesign used the task force as a resource to vet ideas, support fit checks, and provide a conduit into the aircrew community.
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