Australia Formally Requests Buying 24 MH-60R from the USA

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Two multi-mission MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopters fly in tandem during section landings at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla. The new Sea Hawk variant has many improvements, such as the glass cockpit, improved mission systems, new sensors and advanced avionics. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Shannon Renfroe)

Australia is interested in buying 24 MH-60R Seahawk maritime multi-mission helicopters at an estimated cost of US$2.1 billion, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress.  The Royal Australian Navy currently operates 32 SH-60B and B-2 Seahawk models. Under Air 9000 Phase 8 plan to replace the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) fleet of 16 S-70B Seahawks and the Seasprites whose acquisition has been cancelled. RAN considers two alternatives for this program – the NH 90 NFH from NH Industries and MH-60R from U.S. based Sikorsky.

An MH-60R Seahawk assigned to the "Raptors" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71 fires the first of four live Hellfire missiles fired by aircraft assigned to a deployable squadron. The first MH-60R squadron aircraft is replacing the SH-60B and SH-60F aircraft to combine the capabilities of the two aircraft and has the capability to deploy the AGM-114 series Hellfire missile laser-guided precision air-to-surface missile. U.S. Navy (photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Mark A. Leonesio)

The ‘Romeo’ is designed to carry out multiple missions including anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-ship surface warfare, search and rescue. The SH-60R Seahawk could be operating from frigates and helicopter carrying amphibious support ships. It is equipped with a mission package complex combining maritime search radar, electronic support measures (ESM), electro-optical payloads, and various ASW support systems.

Two multi-mission MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopters fly in tandem during section landings at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla. The new Sea Hawk variant has many improvements, such as the glass cockpit, improved mission systems, new sensors and advanced avionics. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Shannon Renfroe)