U.S. Navy and Royal Australian Navy Prepare for Helicopter Delivery

Royal Australian Navy MH-60R

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) flew its first pair of MH-60R “Romeo” helicopters 1,000 nautical miles from the Lockheed Martin facility in Owego, N.Y., to the Naval Air Station Jacksonville in Jacksonville, Florida, following the RAN’s acceptance of the Romeos from the U.S. Navy in December 2013. The helicopters will be officially delivered to the RAN on Jan. 24, 2014, in Jacksonville, strengthening the international alliance between the U.S. and Australia.

In June 2011, Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Navy responded to the Australian Defence Force’s need for a fleet of new-generation, multi-role naval combat aircraft. The MH-60R, with its proven sensors and systems, will provide the RAN with advanced anti-submarine (ASW) and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) capabilities. The helicopter already serves as the cornerstone of the Navy’s Helicopter Concept of Operations, capable of detecting and prosecuting modern submarines in littoral and open ocean scenarios.

“The anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capabilities of the MH-60 Romeo are a game-changer in shifting the advantage from the submarine to the helicopter, which is essential in today’s maritime security environment,” said Rear Admiral CJ Jaynes, Program Executive Officer for Air Anti-Submarine Warfare, Assault and Special Mission Programs, United States Navy, which oversees the U.S. Navy’s H-60 program office.. “We are excited to extend our partnership with the Royal Australian Navy through their acceptance of these advanced helicopters.”

The Australian Defence Force will ultimately head a fleet of 24 MH-60R helicopters, with the entire fleet to be delivered incrementally by 2017.

“MH-60R helicopters shift the advantage from the submarine to the helicopter, effectively addressing today’s increasing submarine and surface warfare threats,” said Lockheed Martin Vice President of Aviation Systems Dan Spoor. “We are honored to partner with the U.S. Navy and the Royal Australian Navy to deliver these capabilities.”

Aboard the MH-60R, sensor data is integrated into actionable information for the three-member crew. The mission systems compile data from onboard and offboard sensors to create an integrated picture that allows the helicopter to identify, locate, track and prosecute threats.

“The Seahawk Romeo is an evolutionary step forward from the Seahawk ‘Classic’ it replaces. The Romeo builds on the known and trusted Seahawk air vehicle, incorporating state-of-the-art sensors in an open architecture, integrated mission system. The Romeo is a potent maritime combat helicopter,” said Rear Adm. Tony Dalton who heads the Australian Defence Organisation’s Helicopter Systems Division. “We look forward to sharing in the U.S. Navy’s ongoing technology upgrades and continuing to build upon the proven capabilities.”

In addition to the MH-60R’s unmatched capability in its primary mission areas of anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, it also has the capability for secondary missions such as search and rescue, vertical replenishment, naval surface fire support, logistics support, personnel transport, medical evacuation, and VHF/UHF/link communication relay.

Posted January 13, 2014