The first two Lockheed Martin/Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk helicopters destined for the Royal Danish Air Force have arrived at the former’s Owego, New York site, where they will undergo mission system integration ahead of a planned delivery to the Danish Defence Acquisition and Logistics Organisation in 2016.
Tom Kane, director of naval helicopter programmes for Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training, tells Flightglobal that the first pair of aircraft will be delivered to the US Navy in September/October under a Foreign Military Sales agreement. They will then undergo validation testing on the Denmark-specific modifications that have been made to the rotorcraft.
The difference between this configuration and the USN's includes modifications to the deck lock system to allow the aircraft to land on Danish ships, plus the addition of a life raft and installation of a high-frequency radio common to Denmark.
The USN will provide some training to the Danish military, but a long-term training plan has yet to be decided on, Kane says.
The US Naval Air Systems Command – the contracting body – announced that the service would sell nine of the anti-submarine warfare helicopters and associated support to Denmark in In December 2012. The nation had also evaluated AgustaWestland's AW159 for the requirement.
A $135 million contract was awarded in 2013 to Sikorsky for the baseline aircraft, and a separate contract placed with Lockheed for mission systems work.
Five aircraft are expected to be delivered in 2016, three in 2017 and one in 2018 – all according to the original schedule, Kane says.
The Seahawks will replace the Royal Danish Air Force's Westland Lynx 90Bs, which entered service in 2000.
Meanwhile, deliveries to the first export customer for the MH-60R – the Royal Australian Navy – have passed the halfway stage, with 13 of the 24 aircraft having been delivered. The remaining 11 will be delivered “over the next several months”, Kane says, with the last delivery scheduled for the third quarter of 2016.
In May, Saudi Arabia was also granted an authorisation by the US State Department for the purchase of 10 Seahawks, worth a potential $1.9 billion.
Kane could not provide further detail on the contract status, simply noting: “We stand behind the US Navy, and look forward to assisting both navies as they look at deepening and expanding co-operation in the maritime domain.”
There have been reports claiming that Taiwan is also interested in acquiring 10 of the type for its navy, but Kane defers all comment to the USN.