RUAG Australia has won a second high-profile MRO contract with the US Navy to work on its MH-60R Seahawk helicopters.
The Melbourne-based company won the deal under a new initiative between US and Australian militaries that allows collaboration on acquisition, logistics and follow-on support of Defence equipment.
RUAG is currently the first Australian company to receive the award under the scheme called AUSMIN Defence Acquisition Committee (ADAC).
In August, the business landed a similar MOR contract to overhaul F/A-18 Hornets.
General manager Terry Miles said, “Earning the confidence and trust of the US Navy is testament to our highly skilled team of professionals who provided reliable MRO support for the B model Seahawk.
“Now awarded the first contracts for F/A-18 components and the MH-60R Seahawk proves our relationship with them continues forward, going from strength-to-strength.”
In April, Australian Aviation reported how the RAN itself was conducting trials of its MH-60R ‘Romeo’ helicopters to test their operating limits off the coast of Queensland.
HMAS Adelaide has left its home port of Sydney to conduct the assessments, which included flying in a range of wind speeds and times of day.
Lieutenant Commander Chris Broadbent said, “While MH-60R aircraft have been used on HMA Ships Adelaide and Canberra for some time, new tests are required to determine what new safe operating limits they can achieve when working together.”
The trials were also carried out to establish the true extent of how the helicopters operate on the Navy’s various vessels and include aviation facilities assessments, equipment calibration and evaluation of the interface between a particular helicopter type and class of ship.
The MH-60R Seahawk is the RAN’s next-generation submarine hunter and anti-surface warfare helicopter, acquired at a cost of more than $3 billion. It’s equipped with combat systems designed to employ Hellfire air-to-surface missiles and the Mark 54 anti-submarine torpedo.
The main missions of the ‘Romeo’ helicopter are anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare, while other uses include search and rescue, logistics support, personnel transport and medical evacuation.
The MH-60R and its mission systems replaced the fleet’s S-70B-2 Seahawk aircraft, which retired from service on 1 December 2017.
The helicopters are largely military off-the-shelf built by Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin and were acquired through the foreign military sales (FMS) process from the US Navy.