The first Sikorsky/Lockheed Martin MH-60R Romeo shipborne helicopter for the Royal Australian Navy completed its maiden sortie on 26 June at the former’s Connecticut facility.
Australian minister of defence materiel Mike Kelly, says: “The Federal Government has invested over $3 billion in acquiring 24 MH-60R Seahawk Romeo helicopters, representing a sizeable commitment toward Australia’s ongoing air combat capability.”
The new aircraft will replace 16 older Seahawk’s in the service’s fleet and “will introduce an air-to-surface strike capability,” says Kelly.
Commonwealth of Australia
Obtaining 24 MH-60Rs will allow Australia to have eight helicopters deployed simultaneously aboard the nation’s Anzac-class frigates and Hobart-class destroyers.
Australia’s first MH-60R will now move to a Lockheed Martin facility at Owego, New York, where its mission systems and sensors will be installed.
Three more examples due for Australia are under construction at Sikorsky, with the first two examples due for delivery in December 2013.
Australian air crew and maintainers are training with the US navy in Jacksonville, Florida.