Spain to Receive Uniquely Configured MH-60R Helicopters

U.S. State Dept approved $380M MH-60R sale to Spain in early 2023
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 06:06 AM, December 15, 2023
  • 1271
Spain to Receive Uniquely Configured MH-60R Helicopters
MH-60R Seahawk drops practice torpedo

Lockheed Martin has secured a $133 million modification against a prior basic ordering agreement to adapt eight MH-60R aircraft from a standard Foreign Military Sales (FMS) configuration to a unique setup for the government of Spain.

Additionally, the modification includes the procurement of eight embedded global positioning system inertial navigation systems spares, four airborne low frequency sonars, production spares, and associated field service representative support. The completion of the work is expected by June 2029.

This modification comes after the confirmation in October 2023 of the procurement of Lockheed Martin MH-60R Seahawk maritime helicopters. The deal, valued around $380 million, was executed seven months after receiving approval from the U.S. government and is set to run through March 2027.

The Spanish Armada (Spanish Navy) retired its last 18 Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King helicopters in 2022, marking the end of a delivery era that began in 1966. From 1988 to 2001, the Armada acquired 12 SH-60B aircraft and, more recently, purchased eight SH-60F Seahawk helicopters that were retired by the U.S. Navy.

The introduction of the new MH-60R is expected to enhance the mission systems and sensors of the SH-60B fleet, providing the Armada with advanced anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capabilities. The MH-60R will also be versatile, allowing the Armada to perform secondary missions such as vertical replenishment, search-and-rescue, and communications relay. This acquisition is anticipated to strengthen the Spanish Navy's ability to support NATO and maintain interoperability with the United States and other NATO alliance members.

Currently, the Armada operates 12 Sikorsky SH-60B Seahawk helicopters as its primary rotary-winged ASW and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) type, having retired the last of the 18 SH-3D Sea King helicopters in 2022. The SH-60Bs will be replaced by the MH-60Rs, with a potential follow-on purchase of either more MH-60R or NHIndustries NH90 helicopters.

In addition to the MH-60R, the Armada's helicopter fleet includes SH-60F, Bell AB212, and MD 500 helicopter types, with NH90s expected to arrive between 2023 and 2025 to replace the interim SH-60Fs.

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