First 'Seahawk Romeo', World's Most Advanced Combat Helicopters Now in Australia [PHOTOS]

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By Athena Yenko | December 12, 2013 3:23 PM EST

The Royal Australian Navy's Fleet Air Arm is now equipped with one of the world's most advanced and modern anti-submarine and surface warfare platforms - the Seahawk Romeo.

The Seahawk Romeo is a US-built MH-60R maritime combat helicopter acquired by the Royal Australian Navy.

"The handover of the first pair of Romeos means Navy's Fleet Air Arm is now equipped with one of the world's most advanced and modern anti-submarine and surface warfare platforms currently in operation. Acquisition of the Romeos means Navy will have the capacity to provide at least eight warships with a combat helicopter at the same time, including the ANZAC Class frigates and the new Air Warfare Destroyers. The remainder will be based at HMAS Albatross in Nowra," Defence Minister David Johnston said.

Meanwhile, an acceptance ceremony was held at Lockheed Martin's production facility in Owego, New York. Lockheed Martin is the company which created the Seahawk Romeo in service for the Royal Australian Navy.

Employees from Lockheed Martin expressed pride about their accomplishment.

"I take a lot of pride in the fact that we accomplished this in such a short amount of time. Really from the time the government of Australia and the United States signed the agreement to provide the helicopter, that was 28 months ago. So here we stand today and two of those air crafts have already been manufactured and provided to the Royal Australian Navy," Director of Naval Helicopter Program at Lockheed Martin, Tom Kane said.

Rear Admiral Tony Dalton, Head Helicopter Systems Division, said that the delivery of two Seahawk Romeo on Dec 11 was a new era for the Royal Australian Navy.

"Produced jointly in the United States by Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin, and in operation with the United States Navy (USN) since 2005, the Romeo is a potent maritime combat helicopter. Romeo is an evolutionary step forward from Navy's current Seahawk 'Classic' which it is replacing, building on the known and trusted Seahawk air vehicle and incorporating state-of-the-art sensors in an open architecture, integrated mission system. Flying operations with Australia's first two Romeos will commence within the next few days at the United States Navy's Jacksonville Air Station in Florida," Mr Dalton said.

"The work that has been done by everyone in the DMO, RAN, USN and industry to reach this milestone is fantastic. My team are honoured to be given the responsibility for establishing the Romeo capability, one that will be centrepiece of the Fleet Air Arm for the next 30 years," Commanding Officer of 725 Squadron, Commander Dave Frost said.

A total of 24 Seahawk Romeos will be delivered to Australia by the end of 2016.

PHOTOS: (CREDIT: Australian Defence Image Library)

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