Crazy Sam’s Used Helis: Spain Adds Seahawks
On Sept 30/10, the US DSCA announced [PDF] Spain’s formal request to buy 6 refurbished SH-60F Seahawk helicopters listed as “Excess Defense Articles” by the US Navy. The refurbished helicopters would include the required inspections and modifications, 13 T700-GE-401C engines (12 installed and 1 spare), and other forms of U.S. Government and contractor support. The estimated cost is $155 million, and engine maker General Electric in Lynn, MA would be the prime contractor if a contract is signed, though SH-60F manufacturer Sikorsky will certainly be involved.
While the DSCA says that Spain already has 12 SH-60s in its inventory, it doesn’t mention an important point: they’re SH-60Bs. In the US Navy’s division of labor, the SH-60F traditionally handles the advanced dipping sonar, and performs utility and rescue tasks, while the SH-60B uses its radar for wider anti-submarine sweeps, and is armed with a wider array of weapons beyond torpedoes and door guns. That division of labor is being erased by the MH-60R, which can handle all surface attack and anti-submarine roles by itself. Its MH-60S counterpart will have a wide variety of available weapons and fittings, for roles from combat search and rescue, to surface attack, and even counter-mine roles. Spain evidently looked at its options, and decided to pursue refurbished machines, rather than buying new.
Implementation of this proposed sale will require 2 contractor representatives in Spain for familiarization training for a period of 2 years. U.S. Government and contractor representatives will also be required to participate in program management and technical reviews, training, and maintenance support for 1 week intervals, semi-annually, for a period of 3 years. See also Flight International.