Lockheed Delivers Two New Helicopters to Royal Australian Navy
12/10/2013 (Updated 10:54:26 PM)The Royal Australian Navy took delivery Tuesday of the first two of 24 helicopters being manufactured in part here at the Lockheed Martin plant in Owego.
"We're very excited at the U.S. Navy about the sale. It's the first sale of the MH-60 Romeo. We're thrilled that the Australians are our first partner," said Commander AC Lynch of the U.S. Navy.
"The Royal Australian Navy hasn't had a truly effective anti-submarine, anti-surface combat helicopter for a little while now," said Rear Admiral Tony Dalton of the Australian Navy.
With over 200 submarines currently deployed in the Indian and Pacific Oceans surrounding Australia, an aircraft of this caliber is a real game changer for the Royal Australian Navy.
"This aircraft is generations ahead of the old Seahawks we used to fly," said Commander David Frost of the Australian Navy.
The helicopters themselves are built by Sikorsky Aircraft, and the advanced mission systems and sensors are manufactured by Lockheed Martin. 600 employees at the Owego plant are working on the three-billion dollar project.
The U.S. Navy uses the same aircraft, and has advanced anti-submarine and anti-surface capabilities that are crucial in maritime security.
"I think the world is paying attention to what happened here today," said Tom Kane, Director of Naval Helicopter Programs at Lockheed Martin.
"It's a great opportunity, great experience, and we're all excited," said David Zack, Director of Maritime Programs at Sikorsky Aircraft.
But the international partnership doesn't stop at the helicopter. The Australian Navy currently has a squadron in Jacksonville, Florida being trained by the U.S. Navy.
"And all those people are making friendships, and bonds, and building on this relationship between the U.S. and Australia," said Lynch.
The entire fleet, with systems provided by Lockheed in Owego, is expected to be delivered by 2016. At Lockheed Martin in Owego,
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