Boeing announced that it welcomed Australia’s decision to proceed with the acquisition of 29 AH-64E Apache helicopters, in addition to training and sustainment support capabilities. Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the government plans to acquire an additional 12 new MH-60R Romeo maritime helicopters and 29 new AH-64E Apache Armed Reconnaissance helicopters to join Australia’s Navy and Army. In a contract valued at more than $2.5 billion, the government will expand the Navy’s maritime helicopter fleet with an additional 12 MH-60R Romeos to be acquired and based at HMAS Albatross, along with a 13th to replace one lost in 2021.
Boeing said the AH-64E Apache provides Australia with a low-risk, fully-integrated, battle-proven capability which is interoperable with Australia’s key allies. It is supported by an active production line and mature sustainment activities available to international operators under Foreign Military Sales (FMS) arrangements, thereby ensuring the platform remains the leading attack reconnaissance capability through 2050 and beyond.
“Boeing will continue to expand its industry capability and supply chain in Australia by selecting Australian suppliers to support this critical program,” said Boeing Defence Australia Managing Director Scott Carpendale. “Our Australian industry strategy includes delivering sovereign in-service support for Apache as Boeing Defence Australia has successfully done for the CH-47 Chinook, F/A-18 Super Hornet, EA-18 Growler and P-8A Poseidon. Further, we will offer additional opportunities for Australian industry including a contract to produce crew doors for the Australian Apaches, as well as all new Apache aircraft orders for the life of the program.”
Lockheed Martin Australia Welcomes MH-60R Seahawk Fleet Expansion
Lockheed Martin Australia said it welcomes the Australian Government announcement of the expansion of the MH-60R helicopter fleet – the MH-60R Seahawk is the world’s most advanced maritime helicopter with unmatched capabilities across a multitude of roles. Through this acquisition, the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) will acquire 13 additional MH-60Rs from the United States Navy, increasing its operational rotary wing fleet to 36.
Lockheed Martin’s company, Sikorsky Australia, is the RAN’s industry partner for delivering comprehensive deep maintenance services and intermediate level maintenance support for the MH-60R Seahawk. For over 30 years, Sikorsky Australia has proudly sustained the RAN’s Seahawks and the Australian Army’s Black Hawk helicopters, while steadily building its sovereign industrial base in support of the Australian Defence Force’s rotary-wing mission requirements. The Sikorsky Australia team has grown to a 250-strong workforce, with 195 skilled aviation engineers, technicians, and training and logistics employees based at the Nowra headquarters dedicated to maintaining the fleet of MH-60R Seahawks.
Lockheed Martin Australia Chief Executive Warren McDonald welcomed the Maritime Helicopter capability expansion. He said, “This additional growth further enhances the Royal Australian Navy’s rotary-wing capability and increases operational flexibility to transition from anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare to maritime utility and support missions using the multi-role capability of the MH-60R Seahawk. The expanded MH-60R Seahawk fleet provides strong economic opportunities for Australian industry that will generate more employment, supply chain spending, and partnerships with small to medium enterprises in the Shoalhaven region. Our Sikorsky Australia team has an exceptional track record as a trusted partner to the Royal Australian Navy in sustaining this critical capability with excellence. We welcome the opportunity to expand on this mission to protect Australia’s national interests,” McDonald said.