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Australia orders 24 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters

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MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’ naval combat helicopter.

CANBERRA (BNS): Australian defence ministry has approved a $3 billion contract for the procurement of 24 MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’ naval combat helicopters from US, the ministry announced Thursday.

The new helicopters will replace the Navy’s current combat helicopter capability provided by 16 Seahawk S-70B-2 helicopters and will also provide the air to surface strike capability.

The ‘Romeo’ is a proven capability currently operated by the United States Navy, the  ministry said.

The first two helicopters will arrive in mid-2014 for testing and evaluation, while the operations are expected to commence by mid-2015.

With the new helicopters, Australian Navy will have the capability to provide at least eight warships with a combat helicopter at the same time, including ANZAC Class frigates and the new Air Warfare Destroyers.

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