The US Navy has awarded Lockheed Martin an order to produce an additional 12 Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk helicopters for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
The new aircraft, procured through the US government’s Foreign Military Sales Agreement, will add a third “Romeo” squadron to the RAN’s Fleet Air Arm.
“The ‘Romeo’ Seahawk helicopter inspires confidence in navies worldwide because of its high operational readiness in the harsh maritime environment and because of the fully integrated mission systems and sensors that quickly create a complete picture of the surface and subsurface domains,” said Hamid Salim, Vice President, Sikorsky Maritime & Mission Systems. “We thank the RAN for their confidence in the broad mission flexibility of this proven multirole helicopter. Ongoing and planned upgrades to the MH-60R through partnerships with the US Navy, RAN, other international partners and industry will ensure the aircraft’s reliability and mission effectiveness against emerging threats for decades to come.”
As part of the Australian Government’s Sea 9100 Phase 1 (Improved Embarked Logistics Support Helicopter Capability) project, the 12 new MH-60R aircraft will form a joint fleet of sea helicopters supporting all of the RAN’s aircapable platforms.
“Building on a ten-year partnership with the United States Navy and Lockheed Martin, the MH-60R ‘Romeo’ utility helicopter provides the Royal Australian Navy with an unprecedented platform for maritime aviation,” said Rear Admiral Peter Quinn, Head Navy Capability for the Royal Australian Navy. “The versatility of the MH-60R to perform a variety of missions coupled with world-class support from our partners was a key factor in RAN’s decision to make an additional investment in the MH-60R under the Sea 9100 Phase 1 program .”
Lockheed Martin plans to deliver all 12 MH-60R helicopters between mid-2025 and mid-2026. Sikorsky Aircraft Australia Limited (a Lockheed Martin company) of Nowra, New South Wales currently provides depot level maintenance, supply support and logistical support for Australia’s MH-60R helicopter fleet.
“The additional 12 MH-60R Seahawk aircraft are a testament to the Royal Australian Navy’s commitment to providing its servicemen and women with the right aircraft for their mission needs,” said Capt. Todd Evans, US Navy H-60 utility helicopter program Manager. “This effort continues the longstanding partnership between the United States Navy and the Royal Australian Navy.”
The RAN was the first international navy to choose the MH-60R helicopter, acquiring 24 aircraft from 2013 to 2016. The Fleet Air Arm’s 725 and 816 Squadrons, based in Nowra, have accumulated more than 30,000 flight hours on frigates, destroyers and support ships.