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HH-65 Dolphin

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HH-65 Dolphin
Aerospatiale HH-65.jpg
An HH-65 Dolphin of the United States Coast Guard
Type SAR helicopter
Manufacturer Aérospatiale/Eurocopter
Status Active
Primary user United States Coast Guard
Number built 99
Developed from Eurocopter Dauphin

The HH-65 Dolphin is a twin-engined, single main rotor, MEDEVAC-capable, Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopter operated by the United States Coast Guard (USCG). It is a variant of the French-built Eurocopter Dauphin.


The SA 366 G1 Dauphin version was selected by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) in the early 1980s as its new short range recovery (SRR) air-sea rescue helicopter and given the designation HH-65A Dolphin. In total 99 helicopters, optimised for the USCG's search and rescue role tasks, were acquired. In 2002 there were 94 Dolphins in use by the USCG. It replaced the Sikorsky HH-52A Sea Guard. The HH-65A is not able to perform water landings.[1]The HH-65 normally carries a crew of four: Pilot, Copilot, Flight Mechanic, and Rescue Swimmer.

The Dolphin was manufactured by Aerospatiale Helicopter Corporation in Grand Prairie, Texas. Textron Lycoming builds the LTS-101 750B-2 turboshaft engines in Williamsport, Pennsylvania and Rockwell International, Collins Avionics Group manufactures the electronics system in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.[1]

US Coast Guard Dolphin

The HH-65 Dolphin is used for homeland security patrols, cargo, drug interdiction, ice breaking, military readiness, pollution control, and search and rescue missions. The HH-65 is known for its Fenestron tail rotor and its autopilot capabilities, which can complete an unaided approach to the water and bring the aircraft into a stable 50 ft hover, or automatically fly search patterns, an ability which allows the crew to engage in other tasks.

In order to comply with U.S. regulations relating to local content (based primarily on the value of individual components of the aircraft), engineering changes were required—notably, the original engines were replaced with Allied-Signal LTS-101-750B-2 power plants. Unfortunately, continued problems developed with this engine, resulting in several in-flight loss-of-power events. The USCG therefore decided that it would replace the Allied-Signal engines with Arriel 2C2 units by Turbomeca. This upgrade began in 2004, and has resulted in a safer and more capable aircraft. These modified HH-65As have been designated as HH-65Cs.


The HH-65A minimum equipment requirements exceed anything previously packaged into one helicopter weighing in at less than 10,000 pounds. HH-65As are made of corrosion-resistant, composite-structure materials. Also a unique feature of the Dolphin is its computerized flight management system which integrates state-of-the-art communications and navigation equipment. This system provides automatic flight control. At the pilot's direction, the system will bring the aircraft to a stable hover 50 feet above a selected object. This is an important safety feature in darkness or inclement weather. Selected search patterns can be flown automatically, freeing the pilot and copilot to concentrate on sighting the search object.[1]

Operational history

File:HH-65C Dolphin.jpg
Members of USCG Savannah Station use a USCG HH-65C demonstrating a helicopter rescue

The Dolphin is primarily a Short Range Recovery (SRR) aircraft. There are total of 96 Dolphins in the Coast Guard Fleet. The Dolphin replaced the HH-52A Sea Guard helicopter. The fleet has home ports in 17 cities on the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Hawaii, and the Great Lakes region.[1]

The Dolphin is usually deployed from shore but it can be deployed from medium and high endurance Coast Guard Cutters, as well as the Polar Icebreakers. The Dolphin's main jobs are: search and rescue, enforcement of laws and treaties (including drug interdiction), polar ice breaking, marine environmental protection including pollution control, and military readiness.

When deployed from an icebreaker, the helicopter acts as the ship's eyes, searching out thinner and more navigable ice channels. They also have the job of airlifting supplies to villages isolated by winter, or transporting scientists to conduct remote research.[1]




25px United States Coast Guard

HH-65 Air Stations

Specifications (HH-65C)

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Data from United States Coast Guard[2]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2 pilots and 2 crew
  • Length: 44 ft 5 in (13.5 m)
  • Rotor diameter: 39 ft 2 in (11.9 m)
  • Height: 13 ft (3.9 m)
  • Empty weight: 6,092 lb (2,800 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 9,480 lb (kg)
  • Powerplant: 1× 2 x Turbomeca Arriel 2C2 turboshafts, 853 shp (636 kW)



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 HH-65A Dolphin,, accessed 1 October 2007
  2. United States Coast Guard: HH-65. Retrieved on 2006-05-13.

See also

Related development

Comparable aircraft

See also

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

Template:USAF helicopters

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "HH-65 Dolphin".