Sikorsky Australia continues to achieve a high sustainment rate of effort and has grown its sovereign workforce in supporting the operational readiness of the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) fleet of MH-60R Seahawk helicopters throughout the challenging COVID-19 lockdowns. Key sustainment highlights from 2021 include:
- Sikorsky Australia’s 195-strong MH-60R workforce continued to perform maintenance on the Seahawks each month despite lockdown restrictions, ensuring peak flight readiness of the MH-60R for maritime missions.
- Delivered continued comprehensive sustainment of the depot level servicing line for the MH-60R with all scheduled deeper maintenance events completed in 2021. A highlight of this support included the first of the complex modifications to add a significant avionics upgrade to the fleet.
- Over $450,000 of component maintenance and repair work was distributed to local small to medium enterprises (SMEs), adding to Sikorsky Australia’s sovereign $64m economic impact in the Shoalhaven region since 2019.
- Increased strategic sustainment logistics fleet support by 25% for the Seahawks in support of the RAN’s operational requirements.
- More than 50 Sikorsky Australia aviation technicians have completed comprehensive training, familiarisation and quality assurance courses on MH-60R sustainment since achieving Aircraft Maintenance Training Organisation accreditation through the Defence Aviation Safety Authority in November 2020.
In addition, the Sikorsky Australia workforce in Nowra has increased by 14 roles growing to 195 in 2021. A further 4 apprentices and trainees have been onboarded this year, bringing the total apprenticeship-trainee cohort to 14 to grow future sovereign aviation capability.
Malcolm Wright, General Manager Sikorsky Australia said, “We are 100 percent committed to nurturing local talent in the Shoalhaven region by providing exciting career opportunities to develop advanced skills in aircraft maintenance to boost Australia’s sovereign defence capabilities.”
Critical to the overall sustainment effort is the deepening and expanding sustainment partnership between Sikorsky Australia and the RAN. Sikorsky Australia will embed 10 aviation technicians within the RAN’s MH-60R Seahawk 725 and 816 Squadrons at HMAS Albatross until December 2024. While embedded in the RAN Squadrons, the Sikorsky Australia aviation technicians will conduct specialised activities such as deeper level component repair, complex airframe repairs, advanced avionics repairs and fault finding. These are unique skills that the Sikorsky Australia team bring from the deeper level servicing line at the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul facility in Nowra.
“The deepening of the through-life-sustainment partnership with the RAN demonstrates Australia’s sustainable sovereign industrial capability in action. Our Sikorsky Australia aviation technicians are working hand-in-glove with the RAN to further integrate aviation skills and expertise across the team,” said Wright. “The reciprocal knowledge transfer will further increase with Sikorsky Australia aviation technicians being embedded with the RAN’s MH-60R Seahawk Squadrons. It provides a great opportunity to further harness sovereign aviation sustainment skills and grow them through genuine collaboration on the maintenance of the MH-60R Seahawks. Ultimately the expanded partnership strengthens the overall platform knowledge within the MH-60R enterprise in Australia, therefore enhancing the RAN’s ability to protect Australia,” said Wright.
Located at Albatross Aviation Technology Park, Sikorsky Australia’s purpose-built Maintenance and Logistics Support facility houses through-life-support services for the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) fleet of MH-60R Seahawk maritime helicopters. The MH60 Romeo fleet was built by Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, with the mission systems integrated and the full fleet delivered to the RAN by Lockheed Martin in 2016.