As part of Defence’s AIR9000 Phase 8 project, the RAN (Royal Australian Navy) now has a full fleet of highly capable multi-role helicopters – a much-needed step forward after the $1 billion ‘Seasprite’ debacle.
Defence states, "The MH-60R is equipped with a highly sophisticated combat system designed to employ Hellfire air-to-surface missiles and the Mark 54 anti-submarine torpedo.
"The primary missions of the 'Romeo' helicopter are anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare.
"Secondary missions include search and rescue, logistics support, personnel transport and medical evacuation."
The full fleet of 24 helicopters means that at least eight Navy ships at sea “including Anzac Class frigates and the new Air Warfare Destroyers”, will have an MH-60R on board to provide extra capabilities while the remainder will be based at the RAN’s 725 Squadron in Nowra, New South Wales at HMAS Albatross.
HMAS Albatross and the nearby Jervis Bay Airfield are currently undergoing a $157 million upgrade to provide new accommodation and state-of-the-art training facilities for the MH-60R’s and their crews, as well as other existing helicopter crews.