Taken this afternoon on board USCGC Hamilton, was a United States Coast Guard Aérospatiale MH-65D Dolphin ‘6531’ of the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON). HITRON is an armed United States Coast Guard helicopter squadron specializing in Airborne Use of Force (AUF) and drug-interdiction missions. It is based at Cecil Field in Jacksonville, Florida.
The U.S. Coast Guard is conducting a routine deployment in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations, working alongside allies, building maritime domain awareness, and sharing best practices with partner nation navies and coast guards.
Hamilton is the fourth national security cutter and is the fifth named for the father of the U.S. Coast Guard – Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury and advocate for the creation of the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service.
The SA366 G1 Dauphin version was selected by the United States Coast Guard in 1979 as its new short range recovery (SRR) air-sea rescue helicopter. In total 99 helicopters, optimised for the USCG’s search and rescue role tasks and given the designation HH-65A Dolphin, were acquired. In 1994, the USCG held a fast-track competition to select a new powerplant, and in March 2004 the Guard announced the selection of the Turbomeca Arriel 2C2-CG, already installed on the EC155.
This upgrade began in 2004, and has resulted in a safer and more capable aircraft. These modified HH-65As and HH-65Bs, which also gained new avionics and other enhancements, have been designated as HH-65Cs. The MH-65C was further upgraded with a flight navigation system common to Department of Defense helicopters. The first production MH-65D was completed on 20 January 2011. 97 HH/MH-65Cs were upgraded to MH-65D standard.