RAN MH-60R fleet nears completion
The final MH-60R Seahawk helicopter destined for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) via the US foreign military sales (FMS) programme has been delivered by Lockheed Martin to the US Navy. The company announced the handover on 28 July.
The Australian government ordered 24 MH-60R Seahawks from the US in June 2011 to fulfil the RAN’s Air 9000 Phase 8 requirement for multirole naval combat helicopters. The first aircraft was accepted in 2013.
Known as Romeo, the MH-60R is replacing the RAN’s existing S-70B-2 Seahawk fleet. The fleet will be deployed in a number of roles, including anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare; along with search and rescue, vertical replenishment, naval surface fire support, logistics support, personnel transport, medical evacuation, and VHF/UHF/link communication relay.
Cdre Scott Lockey, director general navy aviation systems, RAN, said: ‘In late 2010, the Australian government had not yet made a decision to acquire the Romeo, and yet here we are in mid-2016 accepting the 24th, and final, aircraft.
‘The RAN has formed the first three embarked flights, conducted the first Hellfire missile shoot and conducted a highly successful ‘DIPEX’ against a Collins class submarine. None of this would have been possible without the professional work conducted by everyone at Lockheed Martin involved in the Romeo programme.’
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