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Raytheon to provide sonar for Australia's MH-60Rs

The Raytheon AN/AQS-22 airborne low frequency sonar (ALFS) has been chosen as the primary undersea warfare sensor for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN)'s planned fleet of 24 Lockheed Martin MH-60R naval combat helicopters.

The US Navy awarded the $80.8 million contract under the auspices of the US government's Foreign Military Sales programme, Raytheon said in a statement.

The contract is the first overseas sale of the system, it added.

"ALFS is a key tenet of our naval strategy, providing us a robust, rapid and far-reaching anti-submarine warfare capability," said US Navy captain Jim Glass, project manager for the MH-60. "Now with the sale to Australia we are providing our airborne ASW sensor of choice to advance the capabilities of a valued, allied fleet."

In June 2011, Australia signed a A$3 billion ($3.1 million) deal for 24 MH-60Rs to fill Australia's Air 9000 requirement. Two will arrive in mid-2014 for testing, with operations to commence in 2015. With 24 aircraft, the RAN will be able to provide eight warships with a helicopter at the same time.

The MH-60R will replace the RAN's 16 Sikorsky S-70B Seahawks.

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