Under an agreement that strengthens an international alliance, the Royal Australian Navy accepted its first two submarine-hunting MH-60 Romeo helicopters on Dec. 10, 2013. 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 with the proven sensors and systems aboard the helicopter.
“The advanced 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 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.”
Already operational and deploying as the cornerstone of the U.S. Navy’s maritime security in open-ocean and littoral zones, the MH-60R hosts the most advanced anti-submarine (ASW) and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) capabilities. The Australian Defence Force will ultimately head a fleet of 24 MH-60R helicopters, with the entire fleet will 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.