Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) MH-60R Seahawk “Romeo” helicopters have passed the fleet milestone of 10,000 flight hours, the service announced on Sept. 13.
The helicopters began its service with RAN’s 725 Squadron operating from Naval Air Station Jacksonville, USA in December 2013. In December 2014,the squadron was relocated to naval air station, HMAS Albatross (NAS Nowra).
On 13 December 2012, it was announced that RAN’s 816 Squadron will transition to the MH-60R Seahawk, with 725 Squadron being reformed to be the training squadron. The squadron was earlier operating the older Sikorsky Seahawk S-70B-2 helicopters.
The squadron has currently mounted five fully capable MH-60R embarked flights and the sixth flight has formed. The RAN’s MH-60R aircraft have now completed more than 3,500 sorties all around the world.
RAN’s MH-60R Seahawk “Romeo”:
The MH-60R Seahawk “Romeo” is the RAN’s new anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) helicopter.
Secondary missions of the helicopter also include search and rescue (SAR), logistics support, personnel transport and medical evacuation (MEDEVAC).
The MH-60R is equipped with a highly sophisticated combat systems designed to employ AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles and the Mark 54 anti-submarine torpedo.
The MH-60R and its mission systems will replace the fleet’s S-70B-2 Seahawk aircraft.
The Australian Government approved the acquisition of 24 MH-60R helicopters at a cost of over $3 billion. The helicopters are largely military off-the-shelf built by Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin and were acquired through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process from the U.S. Navy.
RAN will have the capacity to provide at least eight warships with a combat helicopter at the same time, including Anzac Class frigates and the new Hobart-class Air Warfare Destroyers (AWD). The remainder will be based at HMAS Albatross in Nowra, New South Wales, and will be in various stages of the regular maintenance and training cycle.
Royal Australian Navy