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Spain cements MH-60R purchase

Spain is set to become the latest international operator of the MH-60R Seahawk, with a contract for eight helicopters announced on 12 October. (US Navy)

Spain has confirmed the procurement of Lockheed Martin MH-60R Seahawk maritime helicopters, seven months after the proposed buy was approved by the US government.

The manufacturer announced on 12 October that it had been contracted by the US Navy (USN) to deliver eight helicopters to the Spanish Navy (Armada) following US government approval that was granted on 15 March.

According to the US Department of Defense (DoD) contract notification, the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) deal is valued at USD379.6 million and will run through to March 2027. In its prior approval, the US government valued the total procurement (including associated equipment, weapons, and services) at USD950 million.

“The MH-60R Multi-Mission Helicopter will provide the capability to perform anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare [ASW] missions along with the ability to perform secondary missions, including vertical replenishment, search-and-rescue, and communications relay and will bolster the Spanish Navy's ability to support NATO and remain interoperable with the US and the NATO alliance,” the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in March.

The Armada fields 12 Sikorsky SH-60B (S‐70B‐1) Seahawk helicopters as its primary rotary-winged ASW and anti‐surface warfare (ASuW) type, having retired the last of 18 SH-3D Sea King helicopters in 2022. These SH-60Bs will in turn be replaced by the MH-60Rs, with a follow-on buy of either more MH-60R or NHIndustries NH90 helicopters expected.

The Armada also fields SH-60F, Bell AB212, and MD 500 helicopter types, with NH90s to arrive between 2023 and 2025 to replace the interim SH-60Fs.

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