Brazil needs new anti-submarine helicopters to accompany its “AH-11” Super Lynx models, and replace HS-1 Squadron’s aged SH-3A/B Sea Kings. HS-1 bases out of Sao Pedro da Adelia near Rio, and generally serves aboard Brazil’s sole aircraft carrier, NAe Sao Paulo (ex-Foch).
Brazil is standardizing on Eurocopter’s EC725 Cougar as its medium helicopter across all 3 services, but that model doesn’t have a naval/ anti-submarine variant. Brazil could have chosen a comparably-sized naval helicopter like the EH101 Merlin, or the forthcoming NH90 NFH. Instead, they opted for Sikorsky’s smaller S-70B/H-60 Seahawk. It’s in wide service around the globe, and offers commonalities with the Brazilian Army’s fleet of S-70/UH-60L Pave Hawk search and rescue aircraft. Now, the final pieces of Brazil’s contract and support structure are falling into place.
Contracts and Key Events
April 25/16: An exercise off the coast of Rio de Janeiro has seen the Brazilian Navy fire an anti-ship missile from its newly acquired S-70B naval helicopters for the first time. Brazil has acquired six of the Seahawk helicopters over the last number of years to replace their older SH-3A/B Sea King fleet. During the exercise, the helicopter fired an AGM-119 Penguin missile causing significant damage to its target, an MM40 Exocet missile which was later sunk.
Oct 7/14: DSCA request. The US DSCA announces Brazil’s export request for 3 years of S-70B follow-on support, which includes 1 Tactical Operational Flight Trainer, 5 AN/AVS-9 Night Vision Goggles, spare and repair parts, support equipment, tools and test equipment, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical documentation, and other US Government and contractor support.
The estimated cost is up to $150 million, but no contractor has been picked yet. If a contract is signed, travel will be required on a temporary basis for program, technical, and management oversight and support requirements. Sources: US DSCA #14-48, “Brazil – S-70B Helicopter Follow-On Support”.
DSCA request: support & sims
Oct 30/13: +2. Sikorsky in Stratford, CT receives an $86.8 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for 2 more Brazilian Lot II S-70B helicopters, plus non-recurring engineering, transportation, training, and some field support. All funds are committed immediately, though this comes about a year later than expected (q.v. June 20/11).
Work will be performed in West Palm Beach, FL (50%); Troy, AL (25%), and Stratford, CT (25%), and is expected to be complete in June 2017. US NAVAIR in Patuxent River, MD acts as Brazil’s agent (N00019-10-C-0009).
2 more S-70Bs
Sept 17/12: Support. Sikorsky in Stratford, CT receives a $13.7 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to provide integrated logistics services, field support, training, and technical publications to support Brazil’s S-70B purchase. Most people overlook this sort of award, but helicopters aren’t much use to anyone if they can’t fly.
Work will be performed in Cabo Frio, Brazil (59%) and Stratford, CT (41%), and is expected to be complete in July 2015. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract, on behalf of their Foreign Military Sale client (N00019-10-C-0009).
Sept 13/12: Missiles. Kongsberg announces a EUR 33 million contract with the Brazilian Navy for Penguin anti-ship missiles and associated equipment, and confirms that the missiles will be deployed on the Brazilian Navy’s new maritime helicopters.
July 30/12: Delivery. The Brazilian Navy’s first 2 MH-16 (S-70B) Seahawks have arrive at Cabo Frio International Airport, on board a USAF C-17A heavy transport. It’s about 6 months behind the dates announced in June 2011.
Sikorsky representatives will prepare the “MH-16s” for their flight to Naval Air Station Sao Pedro da Aldeia for final acceptance tests. They’re scheduled to enter service on Aug 23/12, giving the 1st (Guerreiro) anti-submarine helicopter squadron local platforms for tactics development and training. Deliveries will finish in 2014, and the Sea Kings are due to withdraw from service by 2015. IHS Jane’s.
2006 – 2011
June 20/11: 2 more? Sikorsky announces an agreement between the Brazilian Navy and the U.S. Government to acquire 2 more S-70Bs via the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process, completing the 6 helicopter request made on Sept 27/06.
The 4 initial FMS S-70Bs contracted in December 2009 will be delivered beginning in December 2011, and continuing through the end of Q1 2012. Sikorsky expects contract finalization for the additional 2 aircraft in 2012.
Dec 23/09: Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT receives an unfinalized, $163.8 million not-to-exceed contract from Brazil for 4 S-70B anti-submarine warfare/ anti-surface warfare helicopters under the foreign military sales program. The contract includes associated modifications, production, and transportation. These helicopters will replace Squadron HS-1’s set of 4 SH-3A/B Sea Kings.
The naval S-70 has not been a static project, and each model sold has differences. The center section on Brazil’s Seahawks is expected to be compatible with improvements made for the US Navy’s new MH-60R, for instance, and would also benefit from that model’s electromechanical and drivetrain changes. At the same time, the Brazilian Navy configuration is not the same as an MH-60R.
Work will be performed in Stratford, CT (81%), Horsehead, NY (10%), and Troy, AL (9%), and is expected to be complete in June 2012. This contract was not competitively procured, pursuant to FAR 6.301-4. The US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD will manage the contract (N00019-10-C-0009).
4 x S-70Bs
Dec 22/08: Missiles. Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace signs a contract with the Brazilian navy for an unspecified number of Penguin Mk 2 MOD 7 anti-ship missiles and associated equipment, valued at about NOK 140 million/ $20 million. The Navy’s official notice refers to the Marinha do Brazil’s new S-70B Seahawks as the designated platform.
Subsequent sources add that Australian AGM-119 missiles have been sold to Brazil, since Australia’s new MH-60R naval helicopters aren’t able to use them.
The Penguin Mark 2 Mod 7 is a relatively small anti-ship missile with a very distinctive profile. Its boost-sustain solid fuel rocket motor gives the 120 kg/ 260 pound sub-sonic missile a maximum range of 34 km/ 21 miles, using inertial navigation and a passive infrared seeker for no-warning guidance. It can take an oblique path to the target, turning up to 180 degrees around a waypoint. It can also can perform random weaves before striking the target at the waterline, or executing a pop up and dive attack. The Penguin Mark 2 Mod 7 is operational on helicopters of the Norwegian, US (AGM-119B), Australian, Greek, Turkish, and South Korean navies, and is also qualified for use on Brazil’s “AH-11” Super Lynx helicopters. Kongsberg release | Brazilian government [PDF, Portuguese] | The Australian, “Missiles go cheap: Defence’s fire sale”.
Sept 27/06: The US DSCA announces [PDF] Brazil’s official request to buy up to 6 twin-engine S-70B naval helicopters, plus 13 T-700-401C engines, spare and repair parts, communications and support equipment, publications and technical data, personnel training and training equipment, and contractor support. Brazil plans to use this equipment to augment or replace its existing SH-3 helicopters, and the estimated cost is $300 million.
The principal contractors will be: United Technologies’ Sikorsky Aircraft of Stratford, CT (S-70B) and General Electric Engines of Lynn, MA. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale, and implementation may require the assignment of 2 contractor representatives in Brazil for a period of up to 3 years.
DSCA request: 6 S-70Bs
* Sikorsky – S-70B Helicopter
* US NAVAIR (Dec 23/09) – Sea King helicopter retires from U.S. Navy after 50 years