Naval Air Systems Command awarded Lockheed Martin [LMT] a $447 million order on Monday to produce and deliver 12 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters for South Korea.
This contract, under a previously issued basic ordering agreement, will have work split between facilities in Oswego, N.Y. (52 percent); Stratford, Conn. (40 percent); and Troy, Ala. (8 percent) and is expected to be finished by December 2024.
The first aircraft is scheduled to be delivered in early 2024, with the final delivery set for the “very end of the year,” Tom Kane, Sikorsky director, naval helicopter programs at Lockheed Martin told Defense Daily in a statement.
The full contract funds were obligated at the time of award.
In 2019, the State Department approved a potential $800 million Foreign Military Sale (FMS) with South Korea for 12 Seahawks. South Korea requested the helicopters be equipped with APS-153(V) multi-mode radars, AN/AAS-44C(V) multi-spectral targeting systems, Link 16 multi-functional information distribution systems – low volume terminals, M-240D and GAU-21 crew served guns and sonobuoys along with several radios and transponders (Defense Daily, Aug. 7, 2019).
Beyond the U.S. and South Korea, the MH-60R is being operated or has been ordered by Australia, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, India, and Greece.
Kane noted the Navy typically funds international MH-60R contracts in phases and this one only covers production aircraft while “additional follow-up contracts will be required for changes to the aircraft requested to meet the specific configuration required by the ROK Navy.” South Korea is known as the Republic of Korea (ROK).
He said the previous $800 million FMS approval also includes costs to execute the program from NAVAIR and other suppliers beyond Lockheed martin’s expected contract value.
Kane said the company is “hopeful that once the ROK Navy first hand experiences the value and performance of the MH-60R, it will recognize the need for additional aircraft to address the growing threat in the region.”
He also said with South Korea becoming the sixth international partner for this helicopter, it helps increase the value of the MH-60R.
“As additional international navies add the MH-60R to their inventory, it naturally increases the value of the MH-60R, in terms of economies of scale, collaboration on addressing the growing threat, and the synergy associated with multiple countries jointly participating in protecting their common interest,” Kane said.
Beyond the U.S., the MH-60R is operated by Australia, Denmark and Saudi Arabia while other countries under contract include India, Greece, and now South Korea.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated on April 14 to include a response by Lockheed Martin