The US State Department has greenlit a request for sustainment items and services to support Australia’s Seahawk fleet.
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The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has approved the possible foreign military sale (FMS) of additional non-MDE MH-60R Seahawk/Romeo sustainment items and services for approximately US$162 million (AU$258.6 million).
This is expected to build on an initial FMS for the provision of sustainment services, valued at $89.8 million (AU$143.4 million).
“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States,” the DSCA noted in a statement.
“Australia is one of our most important allies in the Western Pacific. The strategic location of this political and economic power contributes significantly to ensuring peace and economic stability in the region.
“It is vital to the US national interest to assist our ally in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defence capability.”
This latest approval from the US state Department comes less than a month after the 40th periodic deeper maintenance interval (PMI) on the Royal Australian Navy’s fleet of MH-60R Seahawk/Romeo helicopters was completed at Sikorsky Australia facilities in Nowra, NSW.
The periodic maintenance interval is a two-part maintenance program involving a series of intensive activities over a seven-year cycle.
The first part of the cycle, undertaken after three-and-a-half years, involves the assessment of condition, identification of wear and tear, corrosion and fatigue and repair to baseline condition.
The second part, conducted after seven years, involves completing exterior paint strip and repaint.
The milestone came after Sikorsky Australia’s parent company, Lockheed Martin, confirmed a Commonwealth government order for an additional 12 Romeo helicopters for the RAN, tipped to be worth over $2.5 billion.
The US Navy has contracted Sikorsky to produce the additional helicopters over the coming years, with delivery expected between mid-2025 and mid-2026.
The deal, which forms part of the Commonwealth government’s Project SEA 9100 Phase 1 (Improved Embarked Logistics Support Helicopter Capability) — is expected to provide the RAN’s Fleet Air Arm with a third Romeo squadron.
[Related: RAN Romeo fleet achieves sustainment milestone ]