RAN to Receive an Additional 12 New MH-60R ASW Helicopters

An additional 12 new MH-60R Romeo maritime helicopters and 29 new AH-64E Apache Armed Reconnaissance helicopters will join Australia’s Navy and Army to help keep Australians safe while creating around 300 jobs.

The Government will expand our maritime helicopter fleet with an additional 12 MH-60R Romeo maritime helicopters to be acquired and based at HMAS Albatross, along with a 13th Romeo to replace one lost in 2021. This investment is worth more than $2.5 billion and will replace Navy’s existing Taipan fleet. The Government has also set aside up to $360 million to expand facilities at HMAS Albatross to house the expanded fleet.

The Government has also finalized a more than $5.5 billion investment to acquire and operate 29 new AH-64E Apaches helicopters for the Army, replacing Army’s existing Tiger helicopters. The Government will also invest up to $500 million to upgrade facilities to support the new Apache helicopters.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the investments were key to the Government’s plan for a safe and secure Australia in the face of regional and global uncertainty.

“Our world and our region are changing but we’re investing a record $270 billion in the defense and security of Australia over the decade to 2030,” the Prime Minister said.

“Australia and our region is now in the midst of the most consequential and challenging strategic realignment since the Second World War.

“But these investments don’t just support the Australian Defence Force, they support local jobs and skills right here.

“The more than $8 billion we’re investing in helicopters and facilities means 290 new jobs on the ground for electricians, mechanics and engineers to support their maintenance, along with hundreds more jobs in the small business supply chain that supports these fleets.

“A safe and secure Australia also means a strong economy and a stronger future for defense industry jobs.”

Minister for Defence Peter Dutton said the Romeos and Apaches were proven helicopters that would deter and respond to the threats Australia faced.

“We’re expanding the size and capability of our helicopters to meet the threats Australia faces,” Minister Dutton said.

“We’re following the 2020 Force Structure Plan that outlined the need to expand our naval operations in particular and the Romeo fits that role as a next generation submarine hunter and anti-surface warfare helicopter, and can also assist with search and rescue and transport like they have during recent bushfires and floods.

“The Apache is a proven and reliable attack helicopter which is already in use by the United States Government and United Kingdom, and has improved sensors, communications and networking systems, attack capabilities and survivability.”

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said economic analysis showed the Romeo program would create 90 new job and support 510 workers, particularly in the communities around HMAS Albatross.

“These investments are about our strategic security, and about the security of Australian skills and jobs,” Minister Price said.

“Navy already operates Romeo helicopters and using a single type of helicopter for all maritime roles offers value-for-money and significant efficiencies through the use of common maintenance, training, and other sustainment services.”

Minister Price said the Apaches would complement the Army’s Tactical Uncrewed Aircraft Systems and Air Force’s Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems, further enhancing these capabilities when deployed in combination.

“The Apaches will be a key part of Australian air capability across our services,” Minister Price said.

“The Apache will also have a highly skilled blended maintenance workforce comprising a large proportion of Australian industry contractors within both the Operational and Deep Maintenance organizations.

“Defence is working closely with Australian industry, primarily Boeing Defence Australia, to deliver a support system for the Apaches that maximizes Australian Industry Capability and builds a strong domestic industrial base with local maintenance, engineering, logistics and training services.

“Under our Government Defence spending has almost doubled. That stands in stark contrast to Labor that slashed Defence spending to 1.56 per cent of GDP – the lowest level since 1938.”

The Romeos and Apaches will be delivered from 2025.

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