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First of Navy Seahawk Romeos completes test flight

The first of 24 Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk Romeo helicopters destined for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has successfully completed its first test flight, six months ahead of schedule.

Minister for Defence Materiel Dr Mike Kelly said this week that the helicopter passed a range of tests including controllability, engine performance, vibration analysis and navigation as well as the ‘Contractor Flight Acceptance’ phase during the flight at Sikorsky’s production facility in Connecticut, US, on June 26.

“The Federal Government has invested over $3 billion in acquiring 24 MH-60R Seahawk Romeo helicopters, representing a sizeable commitment toward Australia’s ongoing air combat capability,” Dr Kelly said. “The MH-60R Seahawk Romeo will replace the 16 Seahawk ‘Classic’ helicopters and will introduce an air-to-surface strike capability.

“The US Navy and its industry partners have worked hard to accelerate the Romeo acquisition program and this first flight occurred only two years after contract signature, some six months ahead of the original schedule approved by Government in 2011.”

With the first two due for delivery this December, the 24 Seahawk Romeos will allow the RAN to provide at least eight helicopters embarked at any one time with Australia’s Anzac Class frigates and the new Hobart Class air warfare destroyers, with the remainder based at HMAS Albatross in Nowra, NSW.

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