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US State Department approves sale of UH-60Ms to Australia

Australia's potential acquisition of 40 UH-60Ms from the United States is expected to improve the Australian Army's ability to “maintain the appropriate level of readiness to conduct combined operations”, according to the DSCA. (US Air National Guard/Master Sgt Scott Thompson)

The US State Department has approved the possible sale of Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk Helicopters and related equipment to Australia under Foreign Military Sales (FMS).

The estimated cost of the deal is AUD2.79 billion (USD1.95 billion). The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) delivered the required certification notifying the US Congress of this possible sale on 25 August.

The DSCA said that the Australian government requested to buy 40 UH-60M and 88 T700-GE 701D engines (80 installed, with another eight as spares). Other major components of the proposed sale include 44 AN/AAR-57 Counter Missile Warning Systems (CMWS) (40 installed and four as spares), 96 H-764U embedded global positioning systems with inertial navigation (EGI) and Country Unique Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM, 80 installed and 16 as spares).

The UH-60Ms are intended to replace the Australian Army's fleet of 41 in-service Airbus MRH90 Taipan multirole helicopters. Australia has expressed concerns about major budgetary overruns estimated to sustain the MRH90 to its service life of 2037.

The principal contractor to supply the UH-60Ms is Lockheed Martin. While DSCA said that Australia typically requests offsets, the agency added that there are no known offset agreements attached to this proposal.

“Any future offset agreement would be defined in negotiations between the purchaser and the contractor(s),” DSCA said.

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