You are here »»»»»  

MCB Kaneohe Bay   |   USA

You want to fly military aircraft at a location where many people want to go for a dream-vacation? Then the place to be is Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. Located on the Mokapu Peninsula in the Kaneohe Bay on the south-east coast of Oahu, the Marine Corps Base is home to Marine Aviation Group 24 with four squadrons and the US Navy with the Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing TWO flying the Lockheed P-3 Orion and the Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 37 Easyriders with the SH-60R Seahawk. I was given the opportunity to visit three squadrons of MAG-24 for a photo report:

      Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463 Pegasus operates the Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion. HMH- 463's mission is ' … to support the Marine Air-Ground Task Force Commander by providing assault support transport of heavy equipment, combat troops, and supplies, day or night under all weather conditions during expeditionary, joint, or combined operations …'.
The CH-53E is a three engine heavy lift helicopter designed to operate from shore-based bases as well as from onboard assault ships. Its empty weight is 37,500 lbs, max weight on wheels is 69,750 lbs. The maximum gross weight with up to 35,000 lbs external load is 73,500 lbs. The Super Stallion can transport 32 troops or 24 litter patients or seven 40”x48” warehouse pallets. If necessary the helicopter can be armed with two XM-218 or two GAU-21 .50 caliber machine guns and one ramp-mounted GAU- 21 .50 caliber machine gun. Max speed is 150 kts, max range is 540 nm and endurance (unrefueled) is up to four hours. Currently the US Marine Corps has about 145 CH-53E in its inventory with an average of approximately 27 years.

      Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367 Scarface as a frontline squadron has 18 AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters and nine UH-1Y Venom utility helicopters. The mission of HMLA-367 is to provide '… offensive air support, utility support, armed escort and airborne supporting arms coordination during expeditionary, joint or combined operations …'. The squadron operates from the sea off assault ships and from expeditionary/austere Forward Operating Bases.
The AH-1W has an empty weight of 10,750 lbs and a max gross weight of 14,750 lbs. Combat radius with 30 minutes time on station and a 20 min fuel reserve is 58 nm, cruise speed is 131 kts. The AH- 1W has a three-barrel 20mm Gatling cannon and four weapons stations that can be loaded with 2.75- inch rockets, TOW, HELLFIRE with multiple warhead configurations and AIM-9 Sidewinder. Current plans are to replace the AH-1W with the AH-1Z in the near future. The UH-Y has an empty weight of 11,700 lbs, max gross weight is 18,500 lbs. Mission radius with eight combat loaded troops, a five minute mid-mission hover out of ground effect, 10 minutes on station, and 20 minutes fuel reserve is 119 nm, cruise speed is 139 kts. The UH-1Y has two weapons stations that can be fitted with 2.75-inch rockets, fixed forward or crew served 7.62mm/GAU-17A gun and/or crew served M240D/GAU-16/GAU-21 machine guns.

      Helicopter Maritime Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 268 Red Dragons. The squadron's mission is to'… provide assault support to the landing force in the ship to shore movement and in subsequent operations ashore by transporting combat troops, supplies and equipment. In 2014 HMM-268 became VMM-268 when the squadron started with the transition from the Boeing CH-46E Sea Knight to the MV-22B Osprey. In 2016 VMM-268 relocated from the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in California to MCB Kaneohe Bay, to become the first Osprey squadron based on Hawaii.
The MV-22B has an empty weight of 35,200 lbs and a max gross weight of 52,600 lbs in vertical takeoff and 57,000 lbs in short take-off operation. It can carry up to 24 troops or 12 litters. Combat radius is 325 nm without air refuelling. Top speed is 280 kts and cruise speed is 266 kts. The Osprey does not carry any offensive weapons.

I would like to thank Ms. Amy S. Bevan, Capt. Michelle Shoenberger and Cpl. Adam Koroley for making this report possible.

2016 / 09