Multinational aerospace firm Lockheed Martin has announced that the Australian military will purchase 13 additional MH-60R Seahawks from the US Navy.
The move comes as the country seeks to expand and strengthen its fleet of advanced maritime helicopters.
At present, Australia operates 23 MH-60Rs it received in 2016. The 13 aircraft will be deployed to perform combat and fleet support roles.
According to Lockheed Martin official Warren McDonald, the purchase of additional MH-60R Seahawks will further improve the Royal Australian Navy’s rotary-wing capability, increasing the fleet’s operational flexibility by supporting various missions, from anti-submarine warfare to maritime utility.
“The expanded MH-60R Seahawk fleet provides strong economic opportunities for Australian industry that will generate more employment, supply chain spending, and partnerships with small to medium enterprises in the Shoalhaven region,” McDonald added.
The MH-60R Seahawk
Developed by Lockheed subsidiary Sikorsky, the MH-60R Seahawk is a multi-mission maritime helicopter designed to operate from frigates, destroyers, cruisers, and aircraft carriers.
It is the US Navy’s primary anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface weapon system for open ocean and littoral zones.
The company explained that the aircraft features a fully integrated mission system to provide complete situational awareness and enable target engagement at short range and over the horizon.
Operated by a crew of three, the MH-60R can travel at up to 180 knots (333 kilometers/207 miles per hour) with a maximum range of 245 nautical miles (453 kilometers).
The aircraft can perform surveillance, communications relay, combat search and rescue, and logistics support missions.