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Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky business has received a contract via the US Navy to produce eight MH-60R Seahawk helicopters for the Spanish Navy (Armada), Lockheed Martin announced on 12 October 2023.

The US Department of Defense’s contracts website noted that this Foreign Military Sale is valued at USD 379.58 M (EUR 361.46 M) and that work under the contract is expected to be completed in March 2027.

Designed, built and integrated with advanced mission systems and sensors for anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, the future Spanish MH-60Rs will significantly upgrade and broaden the range of maritime capabilities performed by its current Seahawk fleet; the Armada operates 12 SH-60Bs acquired from 1988 to 2001 and six ex-US Navy SH-60Fs received from 2017.

In 2022, meanwhile, the Armada retired the last of 18 Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King helicopters that were delivered from 1966.

“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,” an Armada spokesperson was quoted as saying in a Lockheed Martin press release. “We expect a smooth transition from the SH-60B to the MH-60R.”

The eight MH-60Rs ordered by Spain will replace the Armada’s older SH-60Bs. (Photo: Sikorsky)

Spain’s eight new MH-60Rs will join 330 of the type operational worldwide; they are currently serving with the US Navy, Australia, Denmark, Saudi Arabia and India, while aircraft deliveries to Greece and South Korea are set to begin in 2024.

In May the US Navy announced the global MH-60R fleet had surpassed a million flight hours.

“Spain’s confidence in the MH-60R is an attestation to our shared commitment to national security and the security of our allied nations,” Captain William Hargreaves, US Navy H-60 Multi-mission Helicopters programme manager, was quoted as saying by Lockheed Martin. “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.”