U.S. Plans to Offer MH-60R to South Korea
Lockheed-Sikorsky aircraft on display at Seoul International Aerospace & Defense International Exhibition
With more than 100 delivered already, the MH-60R multi-purpose maritime helicopter is a third of the way to fulfilling the U.S. Navy’s master plan to replace its aging fleet of rotary aircraft by 2018. In June, Australia announced its plans to purchase 24 MH-60Rs. And now, U.S. officials are hoping South Korea will soon join the growing MH-60R family.
The Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy is expected to solicit proposals for its Maritime Operations Helicopter Program next year. The U.S. Navy plans to offer the South Koreans the MH-60R – developed by Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky – through the Foreign Military Sales program and will display the helicopter at the Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition Oct. 18-23.
First deployed in 2006, the MH-60R —commonly referred to as the Romeo – is the United States’ most advanced, new generation anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare helicopter. Secondary missions include search and rescue, vertical replenishment, naval surface fire support, medical evacuation and communications and data relay.
The U.S. Navy uses the Romeo aboard its carriers, cruisers, destroyers and frigates, including ships equipped with Lockheed Martin’s Aegis Combat System which is also installed on South Korea’s KDX III destroyers. The MH-60R is the only helicopter currently integrated into the Aegis system and could easily serve as the eyes and ears of the KDX III fleet, alerting the ships to undersea and surface threats over the horizon.
Countries flying the MH-60R also benefit from U.S. Navy management, logistical support, training, product improvements and technical services. In addition, Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky plan to work with in-country and regional partners to support the ROK fleet should they select the Romeo.
Lockheed Martin serves as the integrator for the MH-60R’s Common Cockpit Avionics Suite – the Romeo’s nerve center – and other systems, while Sikorsky manufactures the airframe. The companies have co-developed and delivered helicopters for the U.S. Navy for more than 35 years.