Eurocopter HH-65 Dolphin

A Coast Guard Eurocopter HH-65 Dolphin helicopter moves over Kaneohe Bay toward simulated casualty Cpl. Brad Rosati, a navigation aids technician with Air Traffic Control maintenance, Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, during a joint-service aircraft mishap drill over Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, Oct. 18, 2010. Built on the premise of a simulated CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter crash over water, the drill allowed the joint-service team to work through standard operating procedures for air and waterborne rescue operations.

The Eurocopter 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 AS365 Dauphin.

Role SAR helicopter
Manufacturer Aérospatiale
First flight 1980
Introduction 1985
Status In service
Primary user United States Coast Guard
Number built 102
Unit cost $9 million
Developed from Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin



Original 11-blade Fenestron on the HH-65C
HH-65C radar

The HH-65A's minimum equipment requirements exceeded anything previously packaged into a helicopter weighing less than 10,000 pounds. 75% of the HH-65's structure — including rotorhead, rotor blades and fuselage — consists of corrosion-resistant composite materials. Some Coast Guard pilots have nicknamed the Dolphin as "Tupperwolf", a portmanteau of tupperware (because of the aircraft's high composites content) and Airwolf (from the 1980s TV series).

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 (15 m) 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 & searching the object.

A distinctive feature of the MH-65 is its fenestron ducted-fan anti-torque device. The fenestron consists of 10 blades spin inside a circular housing at the base of the helicopter's tail fin.

Certified for single-pilot instrument flight rules (IFR) operation, the HH-65A was the first helicopter certified with a four-axis autopilot, allowing for hands-off hover over a pre-determined location.


HH-65C Dolphins of the United States Coast Guard
 United States
  • United States Coast Guard

HH-65 / MH-65 Air Stations

  • CGAS Atlantic City 
  • Coast Guard Aviation Training Center 
  • CGAS Barbers Point
  • CGAS Borinquen 
  • CGAS Corpus Christi
  • CGAS Detroit 
  • CGAS Houston
  • CGGP/AS Humboldt Bay
  • CGAS Kodiak
  • CGAS Los Angeles 
  • CGAS Miami 
  • CGAS New Orleans
  • CGAS North Bend
  • CGAS Port Angeles
  • CGAS San Francisco 
  • CGAS Savannah
  • CGAS Traverse City
  • Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron

Specifications (MH-65C)


Data from United States Coast Guard

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2 pilots and 2 crew
  • Length: 11.6 m (38 ft 1 in)
  • Height: 4 m (13 ft 1 in)
  • Empty weight: 3,128 kg (6,896 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 4,300 kg (9,480 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Turbomeca Arriel 2C2-CG turboshaft engines, 636 kW (853 hp) each
  • Main rotor diameter: 11.9 m (39 ft 1 in)
  • Main rotor area: 38.54 m2 (414.8 sq ft)


  • Maximum speed: 324 km/h; 201 mph (175 kn)
  • Range: 658 km (409 mi; 355 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 5,486 m (17,999 ft)


  • Guns:
  • 1 x 7.62 mm M240 machine gun
  • 1 x Barrett M107 0.50 in (12.70 mm) caliber precision rifle


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