Lockheed Martin, a leading global aerospace and defense company, has announced that it has secured a contract from the U.S. Navy to produce Seahawk helicopters.
The deal entails the production and delivery of eight Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk helicopters to the esteemed Spanish Navy (Armada).
According to the company’s press release, these advanced helicopters are designed, built, and equipped with cutting-edge mission systems and sensors to bolster the Armada’s capabilities in anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare.
This milestone contract will herald a major upgrade and expansion of the Spanish Navy’s maritime capabilities, replacing its existing SH-60B SEAHAWK fleet.
Hamid Salim, Vice President of Sikorsky Maritime Systems, underscored the collaborative effort behind the MH-60R, saying, “Operational effectiveness of the MH-60R multi-mission helicopter is a direct result of ongoing investment by the U.S. Navy, Sikorsky, and our partner suppliers in the air vehicle, mission systems, and sensors.”
The Spanish Navy made a strategic decision to retire its remaining 18 Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King helicopters in 2022, ending a legacy that began in 1966. In the years following, the Armada acquired 12 SH-60B aircraft from 1988 to 2001 and later procured eight SH-60F SEAHAWK helicopters retired by the U.S. Navy.
Regarding the upcoming transition to the MH-60R Seahawk, the Armada expressed its anticipation, stating, “The new MH-60R will upgrade mission systems and sensors of the SH-60B fleet, elevating the Armada to the highest level of anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capability. We expect a smooth transition from the SH-60B to the MH-60R.”
The acquisition of these eight MH-60R aircraft represents Spain’s commitment to modernizing its naval capabilities and strengthening its position on the global stage. These helicopters will join a fleet of 330 MH-60R Seahawks currently operational with the U.S. Navy, Australia, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, and India. Additionally, deliveries to Greece and South Korea are set to commence in 2024. In a significant milestone, the U.S. Navy recently announced that the global MH-60R fleet has surpassed one million flight hours.
Captain William Hargreaves, U.S. Navy H-60 Multi-mission Helicopters Program Manager, commented on the significance of this partnership, saying, “Spain’s confidence in the MH-60R is an attestation to our shared commitment to national security and the security of our allied nations. We are committed to supporting Spain throughout this process from contract award through delivery while further solidifying our global partnership. The increased capabilities and new technologies of the MH-60R Seahawk will allow the Spanish Navy to remain a ready, capable, and equipped fleet.”
As indicated by the company’s press release, Lockheed Martin’s latest contract with the Spanish Navy represents a vital step in enhancing maritime defense capabilities and fostering international cooperation in the realm of naval aviation.