The website of the Liberal Party, which leads the coalition that governs Australia, announced the acquisition of 12 new MH-60R Romeo helicopters for the Navy and 29 AH-64E Apache Guardians for the Army.
According to the Liberal Party website, the Romeos and Apaches will be delivered from 2025.
The contract for the 12 MH-60Rs will be worth 2.5 billion Australian dollars (approximately USD 1.739 billion) and will be based on the amphibious assault ship HMAS Albatross, replacing the problematic MRH-90 Taipan.
The Apache Guardian contract is expected to cost 5.5 billion Australian dollars (AUD), or about USD 3.8 billion. They are to replace the Airbus Tiger ARHs, which never satisfied the Australian Army.
In addition, the Australian government will have to invest AUD 360 million to «expand HMAS Albatross facilities to accommodate the expanded fleet» for the MH-60Rs and another AUD 500 million to upgrade bases and workshops to support the implementation of the Apache.
The approval of these acquisitions, by the US State Department, had already been communicated in June and October 2021, for the AH-64 Apache and MH-60 respectively.
At the time, the potential contract for the 29 Apache attack helicopters had been valued at 3.5 billion, according to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), and included 16 AN/APG-78 fire control radars, 85 Hellfire anti-tank missiles and 2,000 APKWS-GS laser-guided rockets, among other items.
Regarding the projected value for the purchase of the 12 MH-60Rs, reported by DSCA at the time, was USD 985 million, well below the USD 1,739 million reported by the Australian governing party. It is not known at this time what new items or services were incorporated into the contract to raise its final price so much.
Late last year news emerged, not very surprisingly, that the Australian Army had decided to replace its current fleet of MRH-90 Taipan helicopters with Sikorsky Black Hawks, as there is great dissatisfaction in the Force with the performance and availability demonstrated by the European-designed helicopters throughout their operational history in Australia. So we can expect another such announcement from Australia, sooner rather than later.
The Romeos and Apaches will be delivered from 2025.
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