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Twin M240 Door Guns For HH-60 Rescue Helicopters

OceanBonfire

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The 943d Rescue Group has designed a concept to mount four additional M240 machine guns onto the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter to provide more firepower to the 920th Rescue Wing’s personnel recovery task force in contested environments.

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Good2Golf

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Maybe someone need to show them a Minigun…
Which they have in the waist gunner positions on the HH60 already, although they’re the older GE GAU-2s, not the newer Dillon M134Ds. This mod adds 20% firepower…mini gun is 6000rd/min and dual-M240 is 1200, total 7200 per side. Personally, I’d say add a second mini gun per side if you want statistically significantly more firepower. The dual 240 mount takes up much of the Hawk’s main cabin door…I don’t get it. 🤷🏻‍♂️ That it’s coming out of a single Wing and not AFSOC says a lot.

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brihard

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Which they have in the waist gunner positions on the HH60 already, although they’re the older GE GAU-2s, not the newer Dillon M134Ds. This mod adds 20% firepower…mini gun is 6000rd/min and dual-M240 is 1200, total 7200 per side. Personally, I’d say add a second mini gun per side if you want statistically significantly more firepower. The dual 240 mount takes up much of the Hawk’s main cabin door…I don’t get it. 🤷🏻‍♂️ That it’s coming out of a single Wing and not AFSOC says a lot.

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In real use, what does minigun ammunition consumption look like? Would the physical space needed to store that amount of ammunition potentially be an issue? Asking out of ignorance.
 

FormerHorseGuard

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I can see why the 240 is being used and not an expert in anyway. 240s are in the system and lots of spare parts. Most parts can be switched out by the operator. Weight factor the M134 is 85 pounds empty, M240 is 21 to 27 pounds each, so you have almost half the weight. Ammo 1000 rounds of 5.56 is around 28 pounds add 2 pounds for links , 30 pounds per 1000 rounds. No power required to operate,

M134 The amount of ammunition carried depends on the mounting: the most common ammunition box sizes are 1,500 rounds (empty weight 24.4 lbs (11.1 kg), full 125 lbs (56.8 kg)), 3,000 rounds (empty weight 27.0 lbs (12.25 kg), full 208 lbs (94.5 kg)) and 4,400 rounds (empty weight 31.0 lbs (14.1 kg), full 295 lbs (134 kg)). M134 requires a weapons tech to maintain and repair, requires power to operate it,

So it could be a way to reduce weight, with all the equipment carried, weight vs flight distance, amount of fuel used to fly the mission distance. reduced weight means more distance.

Could be used if the helicopter went down to defend the area till rescue.
 

Good2Golf

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Ummm, 240 is 7.62. 249 is 5.56.

These are AFSOC aircraft and have a solid support tail…not like an HH unit doesn’t have the wpn techs…after all, the aircraft already has the minigun on board.

If ‘because we could dismount and run with it if we go down’ is a factor, then there are bigger issues than what you can put in a PR platform. Folks on the ground will be E&E’ing with their M4s and M19s, not trying to dig in with a set of dual M240s to set up interlocking arcs of fire.

I asked another 60-specialized platform bud I know about this and he virtually shook his head. He may also had said something along the lines of “****ing Air Force, I’d stick with the 134 (which these guys have on their 60s)”
 

Good2Golf

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In real use, what does minigun ammunition consumption look like? Would the physical space needed to store that amount of ammunition potentially be an issue? Asking out of ignorance.
It tends to be only slightly higher by the numbers, because a minigun can be burst fired more accurately with more throw-weight than trying to get a 240 zoned in and fired for long enough to put similar weight downrange. Typical 134 bursts are 1-2 seconds, not drawn out 4-5+ second bursts of a GPMG
 

SeaKingTacco

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It could be there is a shortage of utility power in the back of the H-60, making unpowered guns more desirable.

Maybe carrying another gatling gun makes the overall ammo load too heavy.

Or it could be the bright ideas club.

Hard to say.
 

Good2Golf

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Possibly, SKT. I’m sticking with it being a Wing-only effort (not AFSOC cap Dev folks) and other specialized 60-users scratching their heads, indicating “Bright Ideas Club”…

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KevinB

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I can see why the 240 is being used and not an expert in anyway. 240s are in the system and lots of spare parts. Most parts can be switched out by the operator. Weight factor the M134 is 85 pounds empty, M240 is 21 to 27 pounds each, so you have almost half the weight. Ammo 1000 rounds of 5.56 is around 28 pounds add 2 pounds for links , 30 pounds per 1000 rounds. No power required to operate.
The 85lb weight is including the external auxiliary power supply box (battery) to allow it to run with bird main power off (after a crash)
Realistically it’s a 65lbs (or 41lbs for the LTWT Ti version)

The 240 rate of fire isn’t ideal at all for aircraft usage - as you’re trying to saturate a target area quickly. When you factor in the dismount kit for the 240-H or -C (right hand feed model)

Having been in Cbt with both 240 and 134 equipped birds, actually ammunition use is generally lower in the 134 birds - as you aren’t firing as long a burst and the Minigun is easier to adjust fire on from impact and tracer stream.

The only dual 240 mounts I’ve got experiences with are MARSOC Hummers, they quickly switched to Miniguns for that role - the ammo hoppers used for the 240’s are external and where 4k round bins (which get mighty nasty and fouled with dirt and debris. The pictures of the ones on the 60 in the article look like a 1,500 rd hopper / but still bulky and no ideal for environments that birds fly in.


M134 The amount of ammunition carried depends on the mounting: the most common ammunition box sizes are 1,500 rounds (empty weight 24.4 lbs (11.1 kg), full 125 lbs (56.8 kg)), 3,000 rounds (empty weight 27.0 lbs (12.25 kg), full 208 lbs (94.5 kg)) and 4,400 rounds (empty weight 31.0 lbs (14.1 kg), full 295 lbs (134 kg)). M134 requires a weapons tech to maintain and repair, requires power to operate it,
@Good2Golf covered the 7.62 issue already as both use the same ammo. Since the issues in early GWOT all SOCOM birds have now gone to both internal power and a spare battery box to allow for Minigun use after a main power loss/shutdown.

So it could be a way to reduce weight, with all the equipment carried, weight vs flight distance, amount of fuel used to fly the mission distance. reduced weight means more distance.

Could be used if the helicopter went down to defend the area till rescue.
Using a 240H off the mouth is nearly impossible, you need to dismount the gun, and then spend about 5min swapping the dismount kit (buttstock, pistol grip, and bipod. Very few crew fly with those anyway.

Like @Good2Golf I think this is the ‘good’ idea fairy getting her game on.
 

Good2Golf

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That's probably the look on some Commander's face that got the mod approved, despite the talk from @KevinB and @Good2Golf
Well, I’d trust the word of Hawk bubbas who have more than a few battle honors doing the business in some pretty unfriendly far away places, but if the Air Force wants to hard core Air Force, then who are we to dissuade them… 🤷🏻‍♂️
 

Skysix

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Which they have in the waist gunner positions on the HH60 already, although they’re the older GE GAU-2s, not the newer Dillon M134Ds. This mod adds 20% firepower…mini gun is 6000rd/min and dual-M240 is 1200, total 7200 per side. Personally, I’d say add a second mini gun per side if you want statistically significantly more firepower. The dual 240 mount takes up much of the Hawk’s main cabin door…I don’t get it. 🤷🏻‍♂️ That it’s coming out of a single Wing and not AFSOC says a lot.

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Floor in area to mount 2nd minigun not structurally suitable without skin off structural additions.
 

Skysix

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I would have thought a single GAU -21 1100rpm .50 cal per side would have been more useful. But again mounting and weight considerations.

Reading between the lines it sounds like "whatever you can order through our spare parts stystem at minimal cost" plus "do something different than these guys and we will see whose idea works best"

 

Good2Golf

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Floor in area to mount 2nd minigun not structurally suitable without skin off structural additions.
Precisely. Which leads me back to my original point…is the juice worth the squeeze? Possible? Yes. So for 20% more throw weight, you block large portion of the aft cabin? Is the Wing trying to create an ineffective pseudo version of the MH-60M DAP? Again, the fact this isn’t AFSOC doing HH-60 Pave Hawk fleet-wide tells me all I need to know.
 

KevinB

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If you need more firepower than the Minigun can deliver on one side — that isn’t a Blackhawk role and you’re going to be losing more birds trying to be an AH / Support Helo.
 

Good2Golf

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If you need more firepower than the Minigun can deliver on one side — that isn’t a Blackhawk role and you’re going to be losing more birds trying to be an AH / Support Helo.
If at best, 20% more 7.62 throw weight is what they get, I’d spend the cash on more JP-8 and trg ammo for the door gunners to make sure you’re maximizing their effectiveness with the existing mini-guns. Otherwise, it’s the good ideas fairies running amok.
 

KevinB

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At the end of the day the 60 isn’t a support or attack helo.
The guns are for defensive usage.

The DAP is a niche gunship role for the 60, and has forward weapons —> like most gunships.

Offering one’s side profile to the enemy (as one needs to do to really use the side guns) just gives a larger profile to be engaged.

When running VI stuff on Little birds - the shooter is usually on the side bench facing forward so one only needs to approach from the front and keep a smaller profile - the same that gunships do.

Doing aerial support in lazy 8’s or circles only allows one set of the door/side guns to be used at a time - while giving a large profile, is not very efficient, the only time both gunners can really be used is on approach or extraction / and then one needs to be really mindful of one’s arcs

Forward guns can all be used on direct approach engagement- and the smaller profile is retained.
 
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