The US Naval Air Systems Command has awarded Lockheed Martin a $447.2 million contract for the delivery of 12 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters for South Korea.
According to a Pentagon contract announcement, Lockheed is expected to complete work on the helicopters for the Republic of Korea Navy by December 2024.
The contract award on April 12 follows an announcement from the South Korean arms procurement agency (DAPA) from December 2020, when it disclosed its decision to purchase Sikorsky’s MH-60R Seahawk for the ROK Navy’s anti-submarine warfare tasks. South Korea expected to invest around $878 million in the acquisition of the 12 Seahawks.
Back then, the decision to go with the US-built helicopter was an unexpected one, considering the fact that the Italian helicopter builder Leonardo, who already delivered the AW159 Wildcat to the Korean Navy, had been regarded a favorite in the competition.
The purchase of the AW159 Wildcat was part of the first batch of the navy’s maritime operational helicopter (MOH) program.
For the second batch of the program, South Korea selected Lockheed Martin subsidiary Sikorsky over Leonardo and NHIndustries.
The MH-60R Sea Hawk is in service with the US Navy and performs anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, electromagnetic warfare, surveillance and other missions.
South Korea is becoming the seventh operator of the helicopter, joining the US, Greece, Australia, Denmark, Saudi Arabia and India.