The Royal Australian Navy’s newest maritime combat helicopter, the MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’ has been on display today flying from its home in the Shoalhaven to Sydney and around Sydney Harbour.
Defence Minister David Johnston said the new helicopter is part of an eventual fleet of 24 and is the next generation submarine and anti-surface warfare aircraft that represents a quantum leap over Navy's current helicopter force.
“The arrival of the Romeo means that Navy will eventually have the capacity to provide eight warships with a combat helicopter at the same time, including the Anzac class frigates and the new Air Warfare Destroyers,” Senator Johnston said.
“They will be fully interoperable with our Alliance Partner, the United States, which brings significant advantages, as well as being a proven capability equipped with highly sophisticated combat systems.”
Senator Johnston said he inspected the first Romeo helicopter to arrive in Australia during a recent visit to HMAS Albatross in Nowra and spoke to Navy personnel who have been training on the aircraft at the US Navy Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida, for many months.
“They were all very much looking forward to bringing the Romeo back to Australia to begin trials and eventually deploy to Navy's frigates and destroyers, they couldn't speak more highly of the aircraft which is very gratifying,” Senator Johnston said.
Defence is purchasing 24 of the helicopters at a cost of just over $3 billion through a Foreign Military Sale process from the US Navy. Further aircraft will arrive in Australia in 2015 and 2016.
Aerial footage will be fed to the Parliamentary Press Gallery by 1400 today.
Imagery will be available on the Defence Image Gallery at http://images.defence.gov.au/S20143495
Rebecca Horton (Minister Johnston’s Office) 0477 389 554
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999