Thursday, January 3, 2013

South Korea may buy 8 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters from US

South Korea may buy 8 multi-purpose maritime MH-60R Seahawk helicopters from the United States' Sikorsky Aircraft Corp for the South Korean Navy according to  media reports. After trials, the Seahawk and the AW-195 Wildcat from the Anglo-Italian company AgustaWestland are the candidates under consideration.

The exact value of the contract is yet to be determined, although the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) had stated its determination to purchase 8 new helicopters for 589 billion South Korean won or roughly $554.1 million.

The US Congress had earlier been notified of a possible sale to South Korea of 8 MH-60R helicopters with related parts, equipment, training and logistical support for an estimated $1 billion.

The 19.76 m long MH-60R helicopter has a onboard data link, which enables real-time sharing of tactical communications and navigational data with its parent ship in both open-ocean and littoral environments.

The versatile MH-60R can be used for multiple missions, including:
  • Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW): capable of fully independent and/or coordinated ASW operations and can localize and classify sub-surface threats as well as engage them with up to 3 Mark 46 or 54 homing torpedoes
  • Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW):  advanced sensors enable it to detect, locate, identify and neutralize surface threats beyond the parent ship's radar or electronic horizon using shipboard weapons or the helicopter's AGM-114 Hellfire missiles
  • Search and Rescue (SAR)
  • Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC)
  • Vertical Replenishment (VERTREP)
  • Naval Gunfire Support (NGFS)
  • Communications Relay (COMREL)
The South Korean Navy intends to station the helicopters aboard its new frigates against North Korean submarines and surface vessels.

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