Sikorsky lands $10m MH-60R sustainment deal

written by Adam Thorn | May 19, 2021
The MH-60R Seahawk helicopter’s rotor blades are folded in preparation for traversing into the hanger of destroyer HMAS Hobart, alongside Fleet Base East, Garden Island, Sydney. (Defence)

The US Navy has awarded a $10 million contract extension to Sikorsky Australia for the local sustainment of RAN’s fleet of 24 MH-60R Romeo multi-mission helicopters.

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the deal would generate 10 new jobs in the Shoalhaven region.

RAN purchased the aircraft through the two countries’ foreign military sales (FMS) agreement, which allows the US Navy to grant subcontracts for sustainment of the finished aircraft from within Australia.

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“This new contract recognises the increased skill and expertise of the Australian workforce as this would previously have been completed in the United States,” Minister Price said.

“The increase in services provided by Sikorsky Australia will continue to boost Australia’s defence industry and broaden the ongoing opportunities available to local companies to support the Romeo fleet.”

Sikorsky Australia, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, is expected to undertake ongoing sustainment support from its maintenance, logistics and repair facility in Nowra, NSW.

“The broad scope and enduring nature of the Australia-United States Alliance offers mutual benefit to both our nations,” Minister Price added. “This allows for the ongoing provision of support to Australia’s next-generation maritime combat helicopters.

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“The contract expansion demonstrates the strong ties between our navies and highlights the internationally recognised strength of Australia’s defence industry.”

In October, Australian Aviation reported how RUAG Australia 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 was the first Australian company to receive the award under the scheme called AUSMIN Defence Acquisition Committee (ADAC).

Australia’s MH-60R Romeo multi-mission helicopters, which first entered service in 2013, provide submarine hunter and anti-surface warfare capability.

They are equipped with advanced combat systems designed to employ Hellfire air-to-surface missiles and the Mark 54 anti-submarine torpedo.

The aircraft are primarily deployed in anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare missions, but are also used for search and rescue, logistics support, personnel transport and medical evacuation.

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