MILITARY | ATTACK
The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group deployed from its West Coast base earlier this year carrying seven more helicopters than typical. The U.S. Navy began testing a new air wing configuration that features two MH-60 Seahawks squadrons, carrying 19 aircraft, instead of one squadron carrying 12. The helicopters are upgrades because the Navy is replacing its older MH-60B, F and H models with the MH-60R and S models. The Stennis is now carrying helicopters that are armed for anti-submarine warfare and are used to support special ops troops, among other assignments. Before its current mission, the Navy was using the John C. Stennis’ Strike Group for search and rescue and logistical missions. The move to increase helicopter presence may be telling of the Navy’s growing understanding that helicopters are a national and international asset.