Naval Warfare

Sikorsky Receives $49 Million Contract to Modify 12 More MH-60R Helicopters for Australia


Sikorsky Receives $49 Million Contract to Modify 12 More MH-60R Helicopters for Australia

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Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk Maritime Helicopter
Royal Australian Navy MH-60R Utility maritime helicopter

Lockheed Martin Corp., Owego, New York, is awarded a not-to-exceed $49,664,990 undefinitized firm-fixed-price modification to an order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement. This modification provides non-recurring engineering and add/delete efforts to bring 12 MH-60R aircraft from standard Foreign Military Sales configuration to a unique configuration for the government of Australia. This modification procures 12 Royal Australian Navy (RAN) unique modification one kits and 10 embedded Global Positioning System Inertial Navigation Systems spares. Work is expected to be completed in December 2026. The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

The RAN ordered 16 S-70B-2s which were delivered in 1988 and 1989. In December 2017, the S-70B-2s were retired from service. The S-70B-2 had served extensively in the Middle East embarked on the Adelaide-class and the Anzac-class frigates. In June 2011, the Defence Minister announced that the MH-60R had been selected to replace the S-70B-2. 24 MH-60Rs were ordered to be equipped with the Mark 54 and the Hellfire with deliveries commencing in mid-2014. The US had approved a Foreign Military Sale of 24 MH-60Rs in July 2010. The first MH-60R was delivered to the RAN in 2013 and the last was delivered in 2016. In 2018, Australia signed a 10-year agreement with the US Navy to support the MH-60R. 23 MH-60R Seahawks in service as of Oct. 2022.

Royal Australian Navy MH-60R helicopters
Royal Australian Navy MH-60R Utility maritime helicopter

The Australian Government Department of Defence in the 2020 Force Structure Plan reported it planned to expand and rationalise the RAN’s MRH-90 Taipan fleet used for support and logistics. In October 2021, the US approved a Foreign Military Sale to Australia of 12 MH-60Rs. In May 2022, the Australian government announced that it would purchase 12 MH-60Rs to replace the MRH-90 fleet. In September 2022, Australia ordered an additional 12 MH-60R Seahawk naval helicopters. As part of the Australian Government’s Project SEA 9100 Phase 1 (Improved Embarked Logistics Support Helicopter Capability), the 12 new MH-60R aircraft will create a common fleet of maritime helicopters supporting all of the RAN’s air capable platforms.

The Sikorsky SH-60/MH-60 Seahawk is a twin turboshaft engine, multi-mission U.S. Navy helicopter based on the United States Army UH-60 Black Hawk and a member of the Sikorsky S-70 family. The most significant modifications are the folding main rotor and a hinged tail to reduce its footprint aboard ships. The MH-60R was originally known as “LAMPS Mark III Block II Upgrade” when development began in 1993 with Lockheed Martin (formerly IBM/Loral). Two SH-60Bs were converted by Sikorsky, the first of which made its maiden flight on 22 December 1999. Designated YSH-60R, they were delivered to NAS Patuxent River in 2001 for flight testing. The production variant was redesignated MH-60R to match its multi-mission capability. The MH-60R was formally deployed by the US Navy in 2006.

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