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• It is clear that the RAN has a long established
network with the US Navy for the SH-60B, in
operations and support, some of which are
relevant to the MH-60R .
• No reasons have been offered by Defence
why the tender for the NIH-90 was rejected,
particularly considering the quality and
capability of the NFH-90 that is at least equal
to and some cases superior to that of the
• It is questionable whether the costs of the
Technology Insertion Program in progress
for the MH-60B were included in the supply
contract, or additional to it.
• Through-Life Support facilities for both aircraft
will have to be provided, compared to shared
facilities for the MHR-90 and NFH-90 if the
latter had been selected when, as stated by NH
Industries, the two aircraft are 80% common.
• It is considered that Defence and Industry
will have problems in finding and funding
the highly skilled human resources and two
discrete R&O facilities required for the MRH-90
and the MH-60R .
• The Sikorsky proposal for re manufacture and
sale of exiting Defence assets is “neat”, but
is loaded with problems that will have to be
resolved before the plan can be implemented.
AIR 9000 PHASE 8
MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter hovers with its sonar dipping buoy lowered in front of the aircraft
carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). Credit: USN / Josue L. Escobosa
• Mission System Technology Insertion
The US Navy’s current program is believed to
• Radar. Telephonics radar scheduled to be
replaced by a new Lockheed-Martin radar
contracted in 2008 with delivery from 2013.
• Torpedo. Adoption of Mk54 (MK50 torpedo
homing head and MK46 electric propulsion
system) to provide improved shallow water
operation). Replaces MK46 and Mk 50
Noteworthy is that the RAN ordered 200 MK
54s in 2010 along with a significant stock
of ancillary equipment for aircraft and ship
launch operations, plus a through life support
package to establish largely independent
support in Australia. (This is odd when the
superior Eurotorp MU-90 Lightweight Torpedo
is also in RAN service and fitted to the NFH-90).
• Hawklink Ku-Band data link. This data link
will replace the present C-band data link.
• Hellfire 11 missile. The Hellfire 11 range
is only 8,000m, has a laser simple homing
capability and a small 9kg warhead. Other
superior performance missiles, in addition to
the carried Penguin, are available including
the MBDA MARTE (carried on the NFH-90)
that has a max OTH range of 25km a minimum
range of 2km and a programmable INS/GPS/
terminal radar navigation system. A Fire and
Forget missile, it carries a 70kg warhead.
It is not known whether any or all of the above
developments will be included in the RAN’s
initial purchase price of the MH-60R aircraft,
but it is believed that Australia has made a
“package” purchase – similar to the Super
Hornets – which includes all of the weapons.
• MH-60R Support issues
Structural Health and Usage Monitoring (SHUM)
techniques developed by the US Navy will be
implemented as these move towards the adoption
of Conditional and Usage-based Maintenance to
maximise the structural life and availability of
its helicopter fleet. It appears that the adoption
of SHUM accepts that corrosion is inevitable
and hence mandates remedial procedures. It is
understood that this arrangement will apply to
The unavoidable adoption of SHUM practices
will almost certainly increase the operational and
TLS costs of the RAN aircraft, but the RAN will
benefit from USN experience.
• Local Industry Programs
The Team Romeo has proposed a
comprehensive local industry program that
• Upgrading the present through-life support
facilities at Aviation Technology Park, Nowra,
for the MH-60R’s LOT.
• Establishment of (export?) business
opportunities, estimated to be worth $1.5b
over 10 years, for local industry.
• The proposal by Sikorsky to establish a new
export industry, estimated to be worth $1b
over 10 years, to remanufacture helicopters.
A first project for this scheme would be
to refurbish the fleet of SH-50 Seahawks
and S-70 Blackhawks owned by Defence,
scheduled to be retired beginning in 2014, and
then find buyers for them.
• Encouraging suitable SMEs to involve
themselves as suppliers to the Team Romeo.
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