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.
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.