Contract For Four MH-60R Seahawks For Greece

MH-6oR Seahawk. USN

SHAH ALAM: Lockheed Martin has been awarded a US$193 million (RM803 million) contract on Oct. 26 by the Pentagon for the production and delivery of four MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopters to Greece. Three of the helicopters will be optimised for anti submarine warfare as Greece also exercised an option to buy three airborne low frequency sonars (ALFS) with the contract. It is likely the fourth one will be used for training and utility duties as it is not equipped with the ALFS.

A USN MH-60R Seahawk demonstrating the use of airborne low frequency sonar. USN

Lockheed Martin Corp., Owego, New York, is awarded a $193,980,348 contract modification (P00019) to previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract N00019-19-C-0013. This modification adds a $180,000,000 not-to-exceed, undefinitized line item for the production and delivery of four MH-60R aircraft, and exercises a $13,980,348 option to procure three airborne low frequency sonars in support of the government of Greece.
Work will be performed in Owego, New York (49%); Stratford, Connecticut (37%); Troy, Alabama (7%); Brest, France (6%); and Portsmouth, Rhode Island (1%), and is expected to be completed in February 2025. Foreign Military Sales funds in the amount of $43,980,348 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

RSAF Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk helicopter. Note the drum for the dipping sonar

Based on the release above, the helicopters alone cost US$180 million meaning each cost US$45 million. And the three airborne sonars costs some US$14 million or US$4.6 million each. It is interesting to note that if we were to buy the four helicopters today it will cost around RM188 million each and another RM20 million for the ALFS.

A RMN Super Lynx firing a Sea Skua missile. RMN

The total cost for four Seahawks if we buy them at the moment, will amount to some RM1 billion or so if we include training, maintenance and the weapons package.

— Malaysian Defence

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25 Comments

  1. I dont now if this true or not. Just read it somewhere. CMIIW. Is that true Panther is not as multirole as Seahawk and Lynx? The user need to choose only one role whether ASW or ASuW. If the user want to add ASuW suite to Panther then they cant install the ASW suite anymore and vice versa. This is due to small space in that heli. Maybe someone can enlighten me. Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    The Panther is a militarised Dauphin so it not big enough. Anyhow even the Seahawk, Super Lynx and the Wildcat are not big enough to be fitted for anti surface and anti submarine at the same time. The sonar equipment will take up most of the cabin. Yes one can fit missiles on these helicopters for anti surface work but then it cannot do anti submarine work or vice versa really

  2. Delays/uncertainties with the LCSs means that a possible buy for ASW configured helos is several years away. A lot can happen then – for better or worse.

    Put aside the fact that several things will have to be funded for in the coming years. As it stands various things need replacing/upgrading soon due to issues related to age.

  3. Wowzers! An S-70i only cost USD $15mil of the production line while an ‘R’ variant is 3X more and that without the sonar!

  4. Michael,

    An order is still several years away … Even if cash were available at present; it will depend on the LCS saga being resolved.
    Also, the financial and political situation then could be different – for better or worse; as such the current situation with Macron will have zero bearing in the future.

    If we can’t afford something with the needed range, endurance and lift capacity (so vital for ASW); it will probably be the Wildcat which because of limitations inherent with its size/design is less than an ideal ASW platform on account of having extremely limited range and endurance if fitted out with a dipping sonar. Another option which was previously looked at or rather offered; ASW configured Cougars; is extremely unlikely.

    As it stands there is zero cash allocated for the requirement which is years ahead anyway. As such what we might or might not get in the future bases on the political and financial situation; is pure conjecture.

  5. @ azlan

    The ASW helicopter requirement is not years away. RMK12 2021-2025 is just 2 months away. Which is why it is extremely important that the RMK12 planning is approved.

    https://www.malaysiandefence.com/back-into-the-future/

    As it is, the MH-60R contract cost for Greece as i said before is one of the lowest we have seen and is comparable to the wildcat price that the philippines got. If we can afford wildcats, then we can afford the MH-60R, which has better performance.

    If not, because of the budget then probably we could upgrade our super lynx into ASW platforms, with utility missions to be taken up by the leased Maritime Mission Helicopters. Cougars are not an ideal ASW platform, as it is not suitable to land on heaving decks (unlike static offshore platform helipads).

  6. @…
    “The ASW helicopter requirement is not years away. RMK12 2021-2025 is just 2 months away..”

    Plan is just a guidance not compulsory. It is easier to change the plan than follow it at this moment.

    “If we can get MH-60R at that price, by all means get them”

    Really? Are we that rich?
    At the price of $45 million RMN can get a makassar class LPD.

  7. @ romeo

    ” Really? Are we that rich? ”

    FYI Our LMS is much more expensive than those PT PAL Makassar class LPDs, so interpret that as you may.

    Anyway if you want a brand new ASW helicopter capability, that is the starting price to pay. No other way around it unless you go for used or convert our current super lynxes. Previous export MH-60R are sold around USD100 million each, so right now the greece contract is by far the cheapest.

  8. This contract may be the cheapest because it is only unit price, which is indeed somewhere like $50m for most any fully tricked out ASW helicopter on the market. Quite probably the support contract is separately figured.

    Rule of thumb is that the support and ancillary equipment tends to be about 80% to 100% of the unit price. So if that’s the case, this price seems to be in line with the trend.

  9. Off topic and breaking news

    India has released RFI for Li-ion battery system technology demonstrator that can be retrofitted into the 6 Kalvari class (scorpene) submarines.

    http://www.indiannavy.nic.in/content/request-information-rfi-indigenous-development-truncated-lithium-ion-battery-system

    TLDM should look at this closely, and to see if this can be technologically inserted into our current Scorpenes during the 2nd refit cycle around 2029 (which should coincide with Kavalris 1st refit) and for our future additional Scorpenes.

    BTW the indian navy has a nice way of presenting the RFI, general requirements, clear and concise. With scope, timelines, and specifications/tests needed.

  10. For USD $100mil per ASW chopper, can get an F-35 dy.

    Many of these are touted as multimission capabled with both ASW & ASuW function. If we config to only AsuW (this function is what we want) perhaps it could be much cheaper.

  11. @joe
    Not really. What we want is anti-submarine warfare helicopters, the anti-ship function is what we currently have in the form of our Lynx with Sea Skua missiles.

    Military hardware is just getting more and more expensive. While it’s true that some of this is because of jammers, datalinks and glass cockpits, it’s also true that anti-submarine gear eats up a big fraction of the cost. Not for nothing is a top-notch anti-submarine helicopter nicknamed a “flying frigate” – it is very capable and very expensive.

    @…
    India recently signed a deal for 24 Seahawk Romeos for 0.9 billion, and it was mentioned that this is just unit price. Logistics etc in separate contract.

  12. @Chua
    It is true that these choppers are highly tricked out to be multirole (aka the MRCA of choppers) but we don’t really need that multi-capability just the anti-sub function is all we want. So if we config purely for ASW sub hunting, remove the Hellfire targeting & launch capability, and the CSAR capability, it could drive prices down from what you would get from a full functioning Romeo.

    Reply
    If we are buying the Romeo, a big if really, it will be prudent to keep them to the stock US Navy model as we will have to pay extra for a custom one. So what if its got more helicopter than we need as long as we don’t have to pay anything extra

  13. @joe
    Unlikely, because of ASW equipment is really that expensive, and then there’s the glass cockpits, datalinks, threat receivers and so on.

    The sonars etc add about $15-20m to the price if you compare maritime attack helis and maritime ASW helis (eg Merlin vs Wildcat, Viper Z vs Seahawk R)

    P.s.
    Interesting article on the Polish deal. 1 of the takeaways here is that their AW101 is configured for dual use ASW and CSAR, able to switch between the two roles with seemingly a full set of equipment for both roles.

    https://theaviationist.com/2019/05/01/lets-discuss-polands-controversial-decision-to-buy-four-aw101-helicopters-to-replace-navys-soviet-era-mi-14-helos/

  14. “we will have to pay extra for a custom one.”
    Okay…. I never knew we would be paying extra to omit something rather than what we’d usually do as we add something when customising. That’s new to me.

    @Chua
    There are questions on the supposed flexibility of the dual role function in your article. Aside that, Poland’s defence procurement policy does seem to mirror our own with local defence industry being put priority and includes certain offset deals. The big difference is Poland already has a viable local industry with even Sikorsky setting up a hub there as mother plant for civvie S-70i worldwide. And I doubt the offsets are of agricultural nature, as Poland also does industrial & medical machinery so this kind of offsets are more tangible to Europe compared to our palm oil & rubber. All in all, it has already stirred controversy before the chopper even got made.

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