Australia orders 12 MH-60Rs from Lockheed Martin

Avatar for Glenn SandsBy Glenn Sands | September 1, 2022

Estimated reading time 3 minutes, 34 seconds.

Australia has awarded Lockheed Martin a contract for 12 MH-60R Seahawks. The fixed-price order is worth around $503 million and is for the production and delivery of 12 aircraft by October 2026. Foreign Military Sales customer funds for the amount will be obligated at the time of the award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland will be the contracting activity, with the work taking place at Lockheed Martin’s sites in New York, Connecticut, and Alabama.

In May, the Australian Government announced its intentions to purchase 12 MH-60R maritime helicopters. The helicopters will be based at HMAS Albatross in New South Wales. 

The MH-60R Seahawk will become the Royal Australian Navy’s next-generation anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare helicopter. 

The additional order for 12 MH-60R Seahawks will bring Australia’s fleet to 23 examples in operational service. U.S. Navy Photo

This purchase is part of a fleetwide helicopter upgrade across Australia’s armed forces known as the 2020 Force Structure Plan, which is part of an initiative to acquire new and advanced capabilities, including VTOL aircraft to conduct naval operations on a larger scale. 

According to a press release from the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA): “This proposed sale will allow Australia’s capability to perform anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare missions along with the ability to perform secondary missions including vertical replenishment, SAR, and communications relay.” 

The 12 MH-60Rs will be added to the 23 MH-60Rs already in service with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), which were acquired between 2013 and 2016. 

The MH-60R order for the RAN is part of Australia’s 2020 Force Structure Plan to upgrade its entire military helicopter fleet. U.S. Navy Photo

“The expanded MH-60R Seahawk fleet provides strong economic opportunities for Australian industry that will generate more employment, supply chain spending, and partnerships with small to medium enterprises in the Shoalhaven region,” Lockheed Martin Australia Chief Executive Warren McDonald cited. 

This is Australia’s second order for H-60s. Earlier this month, 40 UH-60M Black Hawks were ordered to replace the multi-role MRH 90 Taipans, which are being retired a decade earlier than scheduled, due to operational and performance problems according to Australian Defence Force sources.       

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