Lockheed Martin won a $37.8 million order
, which provides for retrofits from the Generation III, V and VI Mission Computer configuration to the Generation 3i and 5i MC configuration on the MH-60R/S
Seahawk helicopter (186 for the Navy, seven for the government of Australia, five for the government of Denmark, and two for the government of Saudi Arabia). MH-60R Seahawk is a multi-mission helicopter manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft. The rotorcraft replaces the SH-60B and SH-60F helicopters in the US Navy’s fleet and combines the capabilities of these aircraft. The MH-60R is also referred to as ‘Romeo’. The helo is equipped for a range of missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, search-and-rescue, naval gunfire support, surveillance, communications relay, logistics support and personnel transfer, and vertical replenishment. Work will take place in New York and Florida. Estimated completion date is in May, 2023.
Australia’s AIR 9000, Phase 8 project aimed to buy 24 modern naval helicopters to 16 existing S-70B-2 Seahawks, along with the disastrous A$1.1 billion, 11-helicopter SH-2G “Super Seasprite” acquisition attempt. With a total sales and support value of over A$ 3 billion, it was a highly coveted award.
The finalists were familiar, and both had roots in Australia. Sikorsky’s MH-60R is a modernized descendant of the RAN’s existing S-70B anti-submarine helicopters, and Australia’s army operates the S-70A utility helicopter. On the other hand, a multi-billion dollar 2006 order made the European NH90-TTH (“MRH-90”) the Army’s future helicopter, and some MRH-90s will even serve as Navy utility helicopters. NHI/Eurocopter’s NH90-NFH naval variant builds on that base. So why did the MH-60R make Australia its 1st export win?