US Navy conduct bilateral exercises with Japan Maritime Self Defense Force

According to information published by the U.S. Department of Defense on October 13, 2021, aircrews from the “Warlords” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 51 and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) “Mighty 59” of Air Development Squadron (VX) 51 conducted bi-lateral exercises.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 MH-60R Seahawk and SH-60K helicopters (Picture source: U.S. Department of Defense)

An MH-60R Seahawk assigned to HSM-51 and an SH-60K assigned to VX-51 conducted a bilateral squadron Tactical Formation (TACFORM) flight, and a dual helicopter Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) tracking exercise. This was the first of its kind bi-lateral ASW event between HSM-51 and VX-51 have ever flown together.

The cooperative flight was flown over the Philippine Sea off the coast of Japan. The two squadrons practiced safety of flight formation maneuvers and ASW tactics. The exercises promoted increased collaboration between Commander, 7th Fleet assets and their JMSDF hosts.

HSM-51 is forward-deployed to Naval Air Facility Atsugi and embarks aboard multiple ships in the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet Area of Operations.

VX-51 is a squadron in the Fleet Air Force of the JMSDF based in Atsugi, Japan.

The MH-60R is a naval version of the American-made UH-60 Black Hawk designed and manufactured by the Sikorsky company which is now part of Lockheed Martin.

The MH-60R can be armed can be equipped with a range of weapons on the four weapons stations, including Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire anti-surface missiles. For anti-submarine warfare, the MH-60R can carry up to three ATK mk50 or mk46 active/passive lightweight torpedoes. The side of the helicopter can be fitted with a pintle-mounted weapon station armed with a 7.62mm machine gun.

The MH-60R is powered by two General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshaft engines rated at 1,425kW. It can fly at a maximum speed of 267 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 834 km.