"The first flight of the Romeo is both exciting and indicative of the momentum this program has picked up towards getting into full rate production. It marks another milestone on the way to what so many people in the Navy, and at Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin have worked so hard to achieve," said Len Wengler, vice president of Maritime Programs at Sikorsky Aircraft.
The MH-60R is the next generation submarine hunter and surface attack helicopter. It will replace the fleet's legacy SH-60B and SH-60F aircraft. The Navy is expected to order as many as 254 MH-60R aircraft through 2015, with production quantities increasing to 30 aircraft per year.
Lockheed Martin is the mission systems integrator for the MH-60R, and also provides the digital Common Cockpit avionics suite, which is common to all MH-60S and MH-60R helicopters. Sikorsky designs and manufactures the MH-60S and MH-60R aircraft and is responsible for the mechanical and electrical modifications on the airframe.
"We are eagerly awaiting the arrival later this month of the first new production MH-60R helicopter at our systems integration facility in Owego, NY, where we will begin installation of the aircraft's integrated mission systems," said Jeff Bantle, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin's Multi-Mission Solutions business unit. "This first aircraft also is important as a symbol of the enduring 30-year relationship between Lockheed Martin, Sikorsky and the U.S. Navy to develop helicopter weapons systems that keep vigilant watch over the Fleet."
Test MH-60R aircraft have been in Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL) since May. Designed as a rigorous assessment of the aircraft and its mission systems in operational flight conditions, OPEVAL is the aircraft's final test phase before fleet introduction and delivery. The aircraft successfully completed the Navy's six-month-long developmental test phase, known as Technical Evaluation, in February.
The MH-60R program, co-led by Cmdr. Kevin Switick and Mr. Robert Kimble, is a department within the Multi-mission Helicopter Program Office (PMA-299), headquartered at the Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD. PMA-299 is administered by the Program Executive Office for Air ASW, Assault and Special Mission Programs (PEO-A).
Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, based in Stratford, CT, is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacturing and service. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation (NYSE: UTX), of Hartford, Conn., which provides a broad range of high-technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.
Headquartered in Bethesda, MD, Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) employs about 130,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture and integration of advanced technology systems, products and services.