The handover came less than two years after the first Australian Romeo arrived in country and just over five years after the type was selected as the RAN’s new naval combat helicopter.
The 24 helicopters have been acquired under a foreign military sales agreement with the US to replace the RAN’s existing S-70B-2 Seahawks, plus the capability never delivered by the cancelled SH-2G(A) Seasprite program, under AIR 9000 Phase 8.
“We are delighted to be here today with our US Navy partners to hand over the keys to the final MH-60R Seahawk to the Royal Australian Navy,” Lockheed Martin Australia chief executive Raydon Gates said in a statement.
“Lockheed Martin is proud of the team who have accomplished such an outstanding achievement, delivering to Australia the full fleet of Seahawks on time and on budget.”
The ceremony also marked the formal opening of the $50 million, 11,400sq m Maritime Helicopter Support Company (MHSCo) facility at Nowra, built by Lockheed Martin and its now wholly-owned subsidiary Sikorsky to provide maintenance and through life support services for the Romeo.