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More Australian Romeos completed

written by australianaviation.com.au | February 26, 2014
04 is one of the two new MH-60Rs which will soon join the first two aircraft at NAS Jacksonville. (Lockheed Martin)
04 is one of the two new MH-60Rs that have departed Owego for NAS Jacksonville. (Lockheed Martin)

Two more MH-60R Seahawk Romeos have left Lockheed Martin’s Owego facility on delivery to NUSQN725 at NAS Jacksonville in Florida.

The two new aircraft join the first two which were delivered to Jacksonville last December.

NUSQN725 is currently training on the Romeo alongside US Navy units before returning to Australia to be based at HMAS Albatross near Nowra and to be commissioned later this year.

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The unit is certainly enthused to be receiving the Romeo, if these comments by 725SQN CO Commander Dave Frost are any guide: “The first time we pack a punch now using the Hellfire missile that we’ve never had before. It’s been a capability gap that we’re now going to be able to fill with this aircraft. It’s an aircraft that’s jam-packed with sensors the likes of which we’ve never seen and the US Navy are still coming to grips with. It’s an incredible aircraft.”

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7 Comments

  • adammudhen

    says:

    Good to see this moving ahead so smoothly. There’s a lot to be said about the low-risk option.

  • Allan

    says:

    Great to see the program humming along it is money very well spent for the FAA. I would love to be thirty years younger. What a range of aircraft the ADF has now or on it`s way. I feel a little envious for the younger guys/girls who choose to enlist to fly with the ADF now. The platforms and capabilities are just leaps ahead.

  • Wayne

    says:

    Goes to show like the C-17/F/A-18F before it what buying off the shelf from the biggest operator of the type for the role does vs. “building our own”, the Sea Sprite, MRH90, Tiger, KC-30 types all of which went over budget and or time…

  • Darren

    says:

    Wayne I would agree in general with your comments except for a couple of points. The MRH90 and Tiger were very immature programs when purchased so the learning curve for everyone one has been much steeper. This is in contrast to the vast numbers of C-17; E/F/A-18E/F/G; and MH-60R. One could argue that once the F-35 has completed testing and is in service for a number of years it will be a mature program of known quantity. Secondly at the time of the RAAF Tanker need there just was no other program to latch onto. The USAF/Congress/Boeing were trying hard to sort it out, with many delays, till they got a decision they liked. The RAF etc were also watching and waiting. In some ways this was case with Wedgetail. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge advocate for off the shelf with proven capability, just sometimes there’s no choice. Although I would have gone for a mix of new UH-60L and MH-60S. And given we want to operate form a ship half the time a Cobra would be the go, not a Tiger.

  • Mark

    says:

    Totally with you Darren. Are there options for more than 24 in the contract? If they operated in pairs from the frigates and AWD’s, and had a couple embarked in the LHD’S, they are short. It’s more cost effective for the fleet to have more. And lowers the risk of losing a ship in combat.

    • australianaviation.com.au

      says:

      No options above the 24. That number allows them to provide 8 units at sea at any one time, plus training and maintenance.
      Cheers
      Andrew

  • Darren

    says:

    Mark the AWD’s are designed and fitted with only ONE hangar. And so they only have ONE helicopter. Forward thinking for having both Helicopter AND UAV when you are far from home and need the versatility and persistence of both. So now our options are down to a small UAV brought up on deck and assembled instead of being wheeled out of the hangar and launched. If they always work with the LHD this is not a problem. However lets hope the new Frigates will see the light and make good use of emerging technology.

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