The US Navy has awarded Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky a new multi-year production contract to build between 120 to 150 new MH-60R and S-model Knighthawk helicopters.
The contract will run for five years, says George Barton, Lockheed's vice-president of business development for ship and aviation systems.
The two companies have already delivered 130 MH-60S anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare helicopters and 213 MH-60R utility-variant helicopters. The USN will buy at least 275 MH-60Rs.
There has been a lot of foreign interest in the helicopters. The MH-60R, which currently operates in the replenishment, search and rescue and occasionally, anti-surface role, will eventually receive optional counter-mine warfare hardware, Barton says.
The counter-mine hardware and MH-60R are crucial for the USN's strategy to field its new Littoral Combat Ships, which are largely dependent on the helicopter for many of its missions.