The Coast Guard’s H-65 Dolphin helicopter is its primary aircraft used aboard cutters during deployments and can operate in all weather conditions (except icing) and can operate at night. There are currently 100 Dolphins in the Coast Guard’s fleet. The aircraft consists of two engines and can reach a maximum speed of 175 knots. The crew of the Dolphin consists of 2 pilots, 1 mechanic and 1 rescue swimmer and the helicopter can fly at an altitude of up to 10,000 feet. The aircraft weighs 9,480 pounds, is 44 feet 5 inches long, and 13 feet 5 inches high. Each Dolphin is armed with a single 7.62mm M240B/H machine gun, 7.62mm shoulder-fired precision weapon and a .50-caliber shoulder-fired weapon.
The H-65 has gone through a series of upgrades and improvements to meet FAA requirements. Upgrades installed in the fleet included a heads up display and advanced navigation capabilities which allowed for more flexibility while deployed. The Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) in Jacksonville, Florida was the first unit to fly the upgraded MH-65Cs. In addition to the MH-65C upgrades that have taken place, in 2017 the Coast Guard plans to further update the Dolphin with features such as an all glass cockpit with even more advanced navigation capabilities. The new, upgraded aircraft will be classified as a MH-65E Dolphin.
Currently the Dolphins are stationed at Coast Guard bases around the United States and Puerto Rico. These bases are: Traverse City, Michigan; Barbers Point, HI; Borinquen, PR; Atlantic City, NJ; Corpus Christi, TX; Detroit, Mi; Jacksonville, FL; Houston, TX; Humbolt Bay, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; Mobile, AL; New Orleans, LA; North Bend, OR; San Francisco, CA; Port Angeles, WA; Savannah, GA.