Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $503 million contract to manufacture 12 Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk helicopters in Owego.
The US Navy recently awarded a fixed-price contract through Foreign Military Sales agreement. The MH-60R helicopters are produced for the Royal Australian Navy and add a third ‘Romeo’ squadron to the RAN’s fleet air force.
The RAN previously acquired 24 MH-60R helicopters between 2013 and 2016.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called the deal a “big win” for Lockheed Martin’s Owego workforce, protecting manufacturing jobs in the South and improving the national security of the United States and its allies.
Most of the MH-60R work was completed in Owego, with additional work performed at Lockheed facilities in Connecticut and Alabama.
“Lockheed Martin employs more than 2,500 people in the South and has had a significant impact on the region’s economy, I applaud the Navy’s substantial investment in Lockheed Martin, as well as the outstanding workforce here at the Southern Tier.” said Schumer.
All 12 new MH-60R helicopters are scheduled to be delivered between mid-2025 and mid-2026.
The additions to the Royal Australian Navy are expected to “create a common naval helicopter fleet that supports all of the RAN’s air-capable platforms”.
The MH-60Rs are considered the most advanced maritime helicopters in the world. It can operate from aircraft carriers, frigates, destroyers, and cruisers and has submarine, surface ship, and search and rescue capabilities.
“The “Romeo” Seahawk helicopter inspires confidence in navies around the world with its high reliability in harsh marine environments and fully integrated mission systems and sensors that quickly create a complete picture of the surface and subsurface,” said Hamid Salim, Sikorsky’s vice president Maritime & Mission Systems. ” We Thank you RAN for trusting the vast flexibility of this proven multi-role helicopter.”
The MH-60R has become an essential part of Lockheed Martin when the company received just over a billion dollars from the United States. To manufacture and integrate the helicopter’s mission systems, Lockheed Martin received an additional $382 million in 2018 for eight MH-60R helicopters for SEAHAWK.
The Royal Australian Navy was the first international navy to purchase the MH-60R. RAN squadrons based at Nowra subsequently logged more than 30,000 flying hours from frigates, destroyers, and supply ships.
Royal Australian Navy Fleet Commander Peter Quinn said the MH-60R provided the RAN with an “unparalleled maritime aviation platform”.
“The multi-mission versatility of the MH-60R, combined with world-class support from our partners, was a key factor in the RAN’s decision to further invest in the MH-60R as part of the SEA. 9100 Phase 1 programme,”.said Quinn.
MH-60Rs are also used by the Royal Danish Air Force, which purchased nine of the aircraft delivered between 2015 and 2018 for use in the harsh conditions of Greenland and the Baltic Sea. In 2020, India agreed to buy 24 MH-60R helicopters in an initial deal valued at $900 million. Saudi Arabia has also purchased the Seahawk in the past.
Source: Lockheed Martin