To counter small boat threats that began emerging in the early 1990s, the Helicopter Anti-Submarine Light (HSL) community began deploying helicopters armed with crew-served .50 caliber machine guns and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles. This enhanced lethality required comprehensive weapons and tactical training, so the U.S. Atlantic Fleet HSL Wing Commander established a Weapons and Tactics Unit (WTU) manned by a select handful of highly specialized and trained pilots and aircrewmen. The resounding success of the WTU made it clear to the leaders of the helicopter community that centralized, standard training was the most efficient way to prepare combat detachments for sea.
Helicopter Maritime Strike (HSM) Weapons School Atlantic, was officially established as a new command on 18 May 2005. The HSM Weapons School serves as the Atlantic Fleet’s center of tactical excellence for training and evaluation of Maritime Strike combat helicopter aircrews. It is responsible for developing and maintaining cost-effective, standardized tactical curricula, including academic, simulator, and flight events for the MH-60R Seahawk helicopter. The squadron is organized into cells that specialize in the three primary HSM mission areas of Surface Warfare, Electronic Warfare, and Anti-Submarine Warfare. The Weapons School also provides training on conventional ordnance handling and loading, crew served and personal weapons, Low-Slow Flyer Intercept, Maritime Interdiction and coordinates a multitude of tactical development and evaluation projects aimed at making a more lethal force.
The Weapons School staff is comprised of dedicated Officers, Enlisted, Department of Defense employees, and specialized contractors. Many of these men and women are designated Seahawk Weapons and Tactics Instructors (SWTI), or hand-picked leaders in their areas of expertise chosen for their superior warfighting skills and tactical insight. All SWTIs are graduates of the “SEAWOLF” course, named after the venerable Helicopter Attack (Light) Three (HAL-3) squadron of Vietnam. SEAWOLF is an intensive 8-week certification process that includes classroom, simulator, and flight events conducted by the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center at Naval Air Station Fallon, NV. SWTIs administer the Helicopter Advanced Readiness Program along with many other advanced training and certification exercises involving the United States and Allies all over the world. The Weapons School callsign is “MAULER” representing the tenacity and overwhelming power that our community brings to bear. The squadron’s motto is “Warrior Spirit” underscoring the focus and ferocity required to protect the United States of America from its enemies. HSM Weapons School Atlantic remains committed to elevating the tactical proficiency and lethality of combat aircrews at home and over the horizon.