State Department approves possible sale of MH-60R helicopters to Spain

WASHINGTON — The US State Department has approved the sale of up to eight MH-60R multi-mission helicopters to Spain in a deal potentially worth $950 million.

The sale would also include a range of weapons and systems – Hellfire air-to-surface missiles, Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) II guidance sections, communications equipment, low-frequency airborne sonars, sonobuoys and more – to enable surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare and electronic warfare by these ship-borne helicopters.

According to a State Department notification issued March 15, “The MH-60R multi-mission helicopter will provide the capability to perform anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare missions as well as the capability to perform secondary missions including vertical replenishment, search and rescue, and communications relay and will enhance the Spanish Navy’s ability to support NATO and remain interoperable with the United States and the NATO alliance.

Spain has previously flown the older model SH-60B Seahawk.

A growing number of countries are buying and fielding Lockheed Martin’s MH-60R. Current Romeo customers include the United States Navy, Royal Danish Navy, Royal Australian Navy, Royal Saudi Naval Forces and Hellenic Navy. In 2021, South Korea and India also placed orders for the helicopters.

The helicopter would be particularly useful to Spain due to the integrated integration between Romeo’s Aegis combat system and Lockheed Martin, which the Spanish Álvaro de Bazán-class air defense frigate is equipped with.

Megan Eckstein is a naval warfare reporter at Defense News. She has covered military news since 2009, with a focus on US Navy and Marine Corps operations, acquisition programs and budgets. She has reported on four geographic fleets and is happiest when recording stories from a ship. Megan is an alumnus of the University of Maryland.

Edward K. Thompson