Home Asia Pacific Lockheed gets $503M to build 12 MH-60R helos for Australia

Lockheed gets $503M to build 12 MH-60R helos for Australia

Australian MH-60R purchase
Royal Australian Navy file photo of an MH-60R helicopter operating from HMAS Canberra

The US Navy has awarded Lockheed Martin a $503.7 million contract for work on the delivery of 12 MH-60R anti-submarine warfare helicopters to Australia.

Lockheed Martin received the contract after the US State Department gave its green light for the sale in October 2021. Australia requested to buy the MH-60Rs, as well as GAU-61 cannons, and M299 Longbow rocket and missile launchers in a deal that had an initial estimated value of $985 million.

According to the August 29 contract announcement, Lockheed is expected to complete work on delivering the helicopters to Australia by October 2026.

The company welcomed Australia’s purchase of the additional helicopters in May this year, with Lockheed Martin Australia head Warren McDonald saying the “additional growth would further enhance the Royal Australian Navy’s rotary-wing capability and increase operational flexibility to transition from anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare to maritime utility and support missions using the multi-role capability of the MH-60R Seahawk.”

The 12 units will bring the Royal Australian Navy’s MH-60R fleet to 36. This purchase is in line with Australia’s 2020 force structure plan in which the defense department said it would expand and rationalize the support and logistics helicopter fleet consistent with the expectations for larger naval operations.

Australia bought the first 24 MH-60Rs between 2013 and 2016 under an A$3 billion contract. RAN Romeos are equipped with AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles and Mark 54 anti-submarine torpedoes.

Last week, Australia was also cleared to buy 40 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters for an estimated $1.95 billion.