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Deep Ocean Helicopter Rescue Ops

Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:46 am

A recent rescue operation conducted by the USAF several hundred miles out into the Atlantic highlighted the capabilities of land-based units to effect a rescue far out at sea. The question I have is how far out to sea can the USAF operate helicopters provided that aerial refueling assets are present? Click the link below for a an interesting read.

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RE: Deep Ocean Helicopter Rescue Ops

Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:54 am

I would imagine that the limiting factor in your scenario would be the crew. Should a relay of tanker A/C be present as in that case, the ability of the crew to remain effective would be the ultimate question. I don't know that a time limitation on the airframe (HH-60G) to operate for a single mission exists.

[Edited 2009-06-30 19:57:40]
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RE: Deep Ocean Helicopter Rescue Ops

Wed Jul 01, 2009 4:40 am

The USCG had to get the AKANG 210th rescue to fly the Cougar Ace rescue a couple of years ago because they aren't air-to-air equipted.

Part of me wishes the USCG would gain that capability but it would be expense and lead to a heavy bird, which is why the USAF crashed that one on Mt Ranier a couple of years back but the Army Guard had no problem because their birds where lighter and didn't have to work so hard.
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RE: Deep Ocean Helicopter Rescue Ops

Wed Jul 01, 2009 12:04 pm

The USCG has a limited form of air refueling. They can hover above a cutter, connect a fuel line, and the Cutter pumps the fuel up into the helio.

The problem is you can not alway preposition a Cutter along the needed route of flight.

For USAF crews, the limiting factor is crew duty time. Depending on the type of mission, it would be 12, 15, or 18 hours from notification to final landing.

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