By The Associated Press
Published: 15 June 2011
CANBERRA, Australia — Australia will buy 24 MH-60R Seahawk “Romeo” naval combat helicopters at a cost of more than 3 billion Australian dollars ($3.2 billion).
Defense Minister Stephen Smith said in a statement Thursday that the first two helicopters built by Sikorsky-Lockheed Martin will arrive in mid-2014 for testing and evaluation, with operations expected to begin in mid-2015.
He says the new helicopters will replace the navy’s current combat helicopter capability provided by 16 Seahawk S-70B-2 helicopters by 2020. They will also provide the air-to-surface strike capability that was to have been provided by the canceled Seasprite program.
Smith says the Romeo is a proven combat helicopter that is currently used by the U.S. Navy.