US helicopter maintenance comes onshore


Defence heavyweights joined the US Navy and Australian industry in marking the completion of the first-ever deep maintenance activity on a US Navy MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’ helicopter at Sikorsky Australia’s facilities in Nowra, NSW (pictured).

The US Navy aircraft arrived in Australia in October 2022 and underwent the successful deep maintenance activity known as a Periodic Maintenance Interval (PMI) in June, with the milestone celebrated at an event with those involved.

Director General Navy Aviation, Aircrew Training and Commons Commodore Darren Rae said the induction of the US Navy MH-60R into Australian facilities is a strong demonstration of the Australian capability in the Indo-Pacific region and the pathway to access it.

“The principal aim of this activity was to demonstrate to the US the capability of Australian industry and the pathway available to perform maintenance, repair and overhaul of this helicopter in our region,” Commodore Rae said.

“This demonstration of Australian industry’s support to US Navy helicopter maintenance is a hallmark for the steady progress being made in the US-Australian Alliance.”

“This is a strategically significant milestone for both Australia and the United States, with our nations ultimately delivering against our shared priorities to strengthen supply chain resilience in the Indo-Pacific.”

Captain William Hargreaves, US Navy H-60 Multi-Mission Helicopters Program Manager, highlighted the importance of the activity in strengthening ties between the two countries and allowing Australian industry to conduct maintenance as if the aircraft was on United States soil.

Captain Hargreaves said: “Demonstrating successful PMI on a U.S. Navy MH-60R in Australia is a testament to our two nation’s shared trust and commitments in our century-long partnership with the Royal Australian Navy.

“Achieving this maintenance event expands our aircraft’s footprint ensuring the fleet is ready to fight tonight.”

Sikorsky Australia, part of Lockheed Martin, is the Royal Australian Navy’s industry partner for delivering comprehensive deep-maintenance services for the Romeo helicopter.

Commodore Rae said: “Australia has a world-class industry capability in Nowra that continues to be highly successful in supporting the Royal Australian Navy’s fleet of Romeo helicopters.

“The Sikorsky Australia team can now add the highly successful completion of this US Navy Romeo deep maintenance activity to its list of achievements.”

Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand’s Chief Executive Warren McDonald said Sikorsky Australia’s skilled aircraft maintenance engineers had completed 46 PMIs on the Royal Australian Navy’s MH-60R fleet.

“This experience combined with the Romeo configuration alignment and interchangeable maintenance procedures between our two navies enabled seamless integration of the US Navy Romeo into Sikorsky Australia’s maintenance program.”

Picture: Lockheed Martin Australia

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