NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md.– The U.S. and Royal Australian Navies will advance their partnership in the first-ever demonstration of periodic maintenance inspection (PMI) on a U.S. Navy MH-60R Seahawk in Australia starting October 2022.

The international maintenance demonstration comes 11 years after the H-60 Multi-mission Helicopters Program Office (PMA-299) and Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) foreign military sale for MH-60 Romeo helicopters was established, reinforcing more than 100 years of “mateship” between the two countries.

The U.S. and Royal Australian Navies will advance their partnership in a first-ever demonstration of periodic maintenance inspection (PMI) on a United States-flagged MH-60R Seahawk in Australia starting October 2022. Credit: Royal Australian Navy

“We are committed to having a ready and prepared fleet across the globe, as evident in this latest collaboration,” said Capt. Todd Evans, MH-60 multi-mission helicopters program manager. “This is all made possible by trusting our shared commitments and leveraging our century-long partnership with the Royal Australian Navy.”

Sikorsky Aircraft Australia Limited (SAAL) will begin maintenance inspection late October 2022 in Australia, to last approximately ten months. A PMI on the MH-60R includes material acceptance and inspection, repairs, and an aircraft functional check flight. The U.S. Navy will conduct post-PMI flight checks. SAAL is a subcontractor to Lockheed Martin Rotary Mission Systems.

“Achieving PMI capability in the Indo-Pacific region is evidence of the United States Navy’s trust and confidence in Australia’s world-class maintenance capability supporting one of the nation’s formidable combat helicopters,” said Commodore Darren Rae, Director General of Naval Aviation and Aircrew Training.

Upon successful completion, the capability could expand the U.S. Navy’s deeper maintenance footprint in the Indo-Pacific region – an area of growing strategic importance. The Seahawk’s PMI will serve as a demonstration for other international PMI depots, which could increase naval capacity, depot surge potential, and other future test capabilities.

Demonstrating maintenance inspections outside of the United States is a supported effort under the Wartime Acquisition and Sustainment Support Plan (WASSP), a Navy-wide effort advancing strategic planning. Under the WASSP, the U.S. Navy explores various collaborations with industry to support surge capabilities for its growing requirements.

The MH-60R Seahawk is the U.S. Navy’s essential submarine hunter and anti-surface warfare helicopter, enabling anti-submarine and surface warfare. For the RAN, the Seahawk serves as a combat helicopter providing its Fleet with both offensive and defensive capabilities for nearly 20 years. The MH-60R and its mission systems replaced the RAN’s fleet of S-70B-2 Seahawk aircraft in 2017.

The U.S. and Royal Australian Navies had partnered since 1918 when the two countries fought side-by-side during World War I setting the foundation for a strong, lasting relationship that continues through present day by ways of naval technology life-cycle support, collaboration, and now, cooperation on deeper maintenance inspection.

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