Weasel Pilot

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23 May 2009
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May issue of Air Force Magazine (The Air Force Association mag) has a picture of a Coast Guard H-65 being loaded in a C-17 and clearly visible on the chopper's tail is "MH-65C." Thought the "M" prefix was for Spec Ops aircraft?? And it's not even dark grey!

Found this:

"Initially intended only for use by the Multi-Mission Cutter Helicopter (MCH), a further enhancement of the HH-65C within the USCG's Deepwater effort, which could include the installation of a flight deck recovery system, further transmission enhancements, 10-blade low-noise Fenestron, relocated avionics, enhanced fuel capacity, a digital autopilot, and an increased 10,000 lb (4,500 kg) M.T.O.W.

The MH-65C designation is now also applied to HH-65Cs used in 'airborne use of force' missions, such as the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) mission taken-up by the MH-65C in early 2008. The HITRON aircraft are armed with the Barrett M107CQ 12.7 mm anti-material rifle and M240B 7.62 mm machine gun."

HTH! Mark
The M modified mission code is one of the more complicated ones in the US military designaiton system. It's been used for special operations, mine countermeasures, and now apparently means just "multimission." For example, the USN's new versions of the Sikorsky S70/H-60 are the MH-60R Seahawk (formerly the SH-60R) for ASW, ASuW, surveillance, etc. and the MH-60S Knighthawk (formerly the CH-60S) for logistics, combat SAR, and mine countermeasures. The Coast Guard is also apparently using MH-60T for its updated HH-60J Jayhawk SAR helos, as well as using MH-65C for the updated HH-65s and MH-68 for the A-109s used as interim armed helicopters.

The helicopter modified mission codes are pretty confused in general. For example, at one point RH, which should mean reconnaissance helicopter, was used to designate mine countermeasures helicopters, as in the RH-53D. But when the H-53E was adopted for the same mission, it became the MH-53E, even though it is no more or less multimission that the RH-53D. Both HH and MH have been used for SAR or special operations helos, depending on which service they belong to.

I note that Andreas Parsch's article on this subject ( says that M has meant multimission since 1977, but my sense is that "multimission" has been interpreted mainly as special operations for some time and only recently did someone decide that it could be applied to other missions as well.
The MH-65C is in widespread use as a multi-role helicopter, so the title ought to read "MH-65C".

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