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US Coast Guard Airbus MH-65s retire from Arctic mission

A Kodiak-based MH-65 trains aboard the USCGC Healy in 2022. (Janes/Michael Fabey)

The last US Coast Guard (USCG) Airbus MH-65 Dolphin in Alaska retired from Air Station Kodiak on 23 April, ending the type's 36-year employment in the service's Alaska Patrol (ALPAT) role.

“For decades, the cutter and helicopter team were the core of the ALPAT mission,” said Commander James Kenshalo, a USCG MH-65 Dolphin pilot. “Together they projected force and protection to the most extreme remote regions of our nation's territories, operating beyond where help could reach.”

Air Station Kodiak operates six Sikorsky MH-60Ts and is scheduled to receive three more in 2025. The service intends to standardise its full rescue helicopter fleet on the MH-60T, which has a longer range, greater payload capacity, and commonality with other armed service fleets. Alaska is among the first regions to complete the transition because of the long ranges required to perform rescue and security missions in the region.

Air Station Kodiak follows bases at Borinquen, Puerto Rico; Traverse City, Michigan; and New Orleans, Louisiana, in divesting MH-65s. The remaining MH-65s in the USCG service are undergoing upgrades from ‘D' to ‘E' models, which entail adding a ‘glass' cockpit with avionics identical to the MH-60Ts.

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