Description:Ship-based helicopter with anti-submarine, anti-surface threat capability. Extend and increase shipboard sensor and weapon capabilities against several types of enemy threats, including submarines of all types, surface ships, and patrol craft that may be armed with anti-ship missiles.
Features: Seasprite is a ship-based anti-submarine (ASW) and anti-ship surveillance and targeting (ASST) helicopter. It extends sensor and weapon capabilities against surface and submerged vessels. The SH-2F is equipped with search radar, electronic support measures, magnetic anomaly detectors and an acoustic data link. The helicopter also carries active and passive sonobuoys.
Background: The H-2 orginally entered Naval service as the Kaman HU2K-1, a single-engine light utility helicopter primarily deployed aboard aircraft carriers in a Search-and-Rescue (SAR) role. When the aircraft numbering system was changed in 1962, the HU2K-1 was redesignated the UH-2A and the HU2K-1U was redesignated UH-2B. The airframe continued to undergo upgrades, most significantly the addition of a second engine and external stores stations, and the HH-2D was selected to be the airframe for the Light Airborne Multi Purpose System (LAMPS) when the program was stood up in 1972. LAMPS evolved in the late 60's from an urgent requirement to develop a manned helicopter that would support a non-aviation ship and serve as its tactical Anti-Submarine Warfare arm. Known as LAMPS Mk I, the advanced sensors, processors, and display capabilities aboard the helicopter enabled ships to extend their situational awareness beyond the line-of-sight limitations that hamper shipboard radars and the short distances for acoustic detection and prosecution of underwater threats associated with hull-mounted sonars. H-2s reconfigured for the LAMPS mission were redesignated SH-2Ds. The first operational SH-2D/LAMPS helicopter embarked on the USS Belknap (CG-26) in December 1971. Eventually all but two H-2s in the Navy inventory were remanufactured into SH-2Fs, and 59 SH-2Fs were built from the ground up in the 1980s. The final production procurement of the SH-2F was in Fiscal Year 1986. The SH-2F was retired from active service in in the late 1990s. Some late-production SH-2Fs were either completed as, or have been converted to, SH-2Gs.
The most common nickname for the SH-2F was the SeaPig.
The last HH-2D in the Navy inventory, BUNO 149031, belonged to HSL-31 Detachment Bravo and is currently in the collection of the American Helicopter Museum. It is the only aircraft to have been part of a detachment entirely officered by women Naval Aviators: LCDR Cathy Osman, LT Patsy VanBloem, and LT Paula Coughlin. The callsign for this aircraft was unofficially SHAKA 14, as can be seen clearly painted on the tail in the photo on airport-data.com.
Least favorite LAMPS mission: visual identification of hostile vessels (aka suicide).
SeaSprite Photo Gallery: (as far as I can tell, these are all aircraft I have flown) (Official U.S. Navy Photos)
Point of Contact:
H-2 Bureau Numbers: Aircraft
in Naval service are identified by a Bureau Number (BUNO). This
is a list of all BUNOs for the H-2; they reflect the model at
the time of entry into service. Most (but not all) were later
converted to SH-2Fs.
Copyright 1999/2001 Ray Trygstad, Naperville, Illinois