Lockheed Martin has awarded Australian firm Ferra Engineering an A$6 million ($6.3 million) contract to supply weapons pylons and mission kits for the Sikorsky MH-60R naval combat helicopter.

"This is a great example of an Australian manufacturing company winning work in the supply chain of one of the largest defence companies in the world," minister for defence materiel Jason Clare said in a statement. "Not only will Ferra Engineering produce parts for the 24 new helicopters Australia is buying, they will also manufacture parts for helicopters being built for the US Navy."

In June 2011, Australia announced the Air 9000 project acquisition of 24 MH-60Rs in a deal worth over A$3 billion. The MH-60Rs will replace the Royal Australian Navy's 16 Sikorsky S-70B Seahawks, which have been in service for 20 years.

Australia's first two MH-60Rs are scheduled to arrive in mid-2014 for testing, with operations to commence in 2015. The aircraft will be deployed aboard Australia's ANZAC-class frigates and new air warfare destroyers. With 24 aircraft, the navy will be able to provide at least eight warships with a helicopter at the same time.

Source: Flight International