Sikorsky, July 26, 2013 - STRATFORD, Connecticut - The Commonwealth of Australia has thanked Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., for early delivery of the first MH-60R Seahawk helicopter to the U.S. Navy, the initial step in the process to transfer a mission-ready aircraft to the Australian Defence Force in December 2013.
"Delivery and first flight of an Australian MH-60R aircraft in late June occurred only two years after contract signature, some six months ahead of the original schedule approved by the Australian Government in 2011," said Captain Scott Lockey, project director at the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO), which is procuring 24 MH-60R anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare helicopters for the Royal Australian Navy. "This is a magnificent outcome for our program."
During a ceremony July 23 near the Seahawk production line at Sikorsky's Stratford, Conn., facility to mark the June 29 initial delivery, representatives of the U.S. Navy, Royal Australian Navy, the DMO and mission systems integrator Lockheed Martin heard Capt. Lockey speak to Sikorsky's workforce via video.
"From the technicians on the production floor, to the test pilots on the flight line, to the senior executives, everyone who has touched the Australian Romeo program in any way should be proud of the role you have played," he said.
On July 24, the first Royal Australian Navy MH-60R aircraft arrived at Lockheed Martin Mission Systems & Training in Owego, N.Y., for the second phase of aircraft completion — installation of the digital cockpit and integrated mission systems and sensors.
Added Capt. Lockey: "The Romeo will be a significant contributor to maritime security in our region, and will provide the Royal Australian Navy with the most capable anti-surface and anti-submarine helicopter available today. I know that the efforts of the U.S. Navy, Sikorsky and other industry partners will ensure that the Romeo maintains superiority in its primary roles throughout its life."
Sikorsky has three additional MH-60R aircraft for the Royal Australian Navy in various stages of assembly at its Seahawk completion line in Stratford. Those aircraft will be handed over to the U.S. Navy in August and September 2013 for completion by Lockheed Martin in early 2014. The DMO is expected to take delivery of all 24 completed MH-60R aircraft by late 2016 via the U.S. Government's Foreign Military Sales program.
"The efficiencies of a multi-year H-60 helicopter contract with the U.S. Government, and close collaboration with the U.S. Navy and Australia's Defence Materiel Organisation, have enabled us to begin assembling Australia's MH-60R aircraft ahead of schedule," said Dave Zack, Sikorsky's Director of Maritime Helicopter Programs. "The men and women of Sikorsky are honored to continue supporting the Australian Defence Force with advanced capability Seahawk helicopters."
The Australian Defence Force currently operates 16 S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopters acquired in the 1980s. The first Australian MH-60R helicopter is the 168th Romeo model produced by Sikorsky since deliveries to the U.S. Navy began in 2006. The first Australian Romeo also is the 401st MH-60 Seahawk helicopter delivered to the U.S. Navy since Sikorsky began deliveries of MH-60S (Sierra) helicopters in 2001. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture, and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.