The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress on July 7 of a possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to Australia of 24 MH-60R ‘Romeo’ helicopters.
The notification says the deal, estimated to cost US$2.1bn (A$2.4bn), includes “equipment, parts, training and logistical support”, as well as 60 GE T700-401C engines (including 12 spares), “communication equipment, support equipment, spare and repair parts, tools and test equipment, technical data and publications, personnel training and training equipment, US government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services.”
The notification is a legal requirement and does not mean a sale has been agreed upon, but it is usually a strong indication of confidence by the contractor and the FMS authority – in this case, the US Navy – that an agreement is likely.
The MH-60R has been proposed by ‘Team Romeo’ comprising Lockheed Martin, Sikorsky, General Electric, Raytheon and the US Navy. It is being considered along with the NH 90 NFH from Eurocopter and its Australian subsidiary, Australian Aerospace, for Air 9000 Phase 8 to replace the RAN’s fleet of 16 S-70B Seahawks and 11 cancelled Seasprites.