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MH-60R positions for potential Nordic maritime helicopter requirements

Lockheed Martin has to date delivered over 300 MH-60R helicopters worldwide. (US Navy)

With nine aircraft already in Danish service, Lockheed Martin's Sikorsky helicopter business is eyeing new opportunities for the US Navy's (USN's) MH-60R ‘Romeo' maritime helicopter elsewhere in the Nordic region as disaffected NH90 customers explore potential alternatives.

Norway in June 2022 announced its decision to withdraw its NH90 fleet from navy and coastguard service, terminate its contract with NHIndustries, and seek a full refund estimated at around NOK5 billion (USD513 million). Meanwhile, Sweden has expressed its continued dissatisfaction with the performance of its NH90 (HKP 14) fleet, and expects to take a decision on its future rotorcraft plans before the end of 2022.

Lockheed Martin has to date delivered over 300 MH-60R helicopters. Alongside the USN, export orders have been concluded with Australia, Denmark, Greece, India, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea through the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme. Speaking at the Farnborough airshow in July, Sikorsky's vice-president of army and air force programmes Nathalie Previte said the company was pursuing both repeat orders and new opportunities for the MH-60R through FMS sales.

“It's attractive because it's a true multimission maritime helicopter that has a lot of sensors,” she said. “But also, it's very reliable – upwards of 90% – and has low operating costs.”

Norway ordered 14 NH90 helicopters in 2001, comprising eight anti-submarine warfare (ASW) variants for operation with the Royal Norwegian Navy and six to support the Norwegian Coast Guard. All 14 helicopters were originally planned for delivery by the end of 2008.

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