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Jones applauds international sale of 24 Troy-built MH-60R Seahawk helicopters

U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, applauded the news that India will purchase 21 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters, built in Troy. The U.S. Navy will also purchase three additional helicopters.

The MH-60R is the world’s most advanced maritime helicopter in the world. The MH-60R is Alabama built at the Lockheed-owned Sikorsky manufacturing facility in Troy. The naval helicopters are equipped for multiple missions including anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, special operations, surveillance, and search and rescue.

“This is great news for Alabama and Sikorsky’s Troy-based workforce, especially in light of today’s historic unemployment levels,” said Sen. Jones. “Since 2006, when Sikorsky made the decision to expand its operations in Alabama, MH-60R production has provided hundreds of jobs to our citizens. I applaud the approval of this sale, as it will protect over 200 jobs at the Troy facility, while providing improved capabilities to one of our partners.”

“I am proud to have Lockheed Martin, which now owns Sikorsky, in Alabama, and I thank both the company’s leadership and its talented workforce for their extraordinary commitment and dedication to both our national security and to our communities during this difficult time,” Jones continued. “Lockheed has continued hiring additional employees and apprentices to accelerate and continue their critical defense contracting work, by providing financial and operational support to vulnerable businesses in the supply chain, by providing personal protective equipment (PPE) and transport for COVID-19 responders, and by delivering meals to those suffering from hunger during this crisis.”

“We are pleased the government of India has selected the U.S. Navy’s MH-60R. We’re confident that this aircraft will provide unparalleled capability to the Indian Navy for years to come,” said Capt. Todd Evans, MH-60 program manager for the U.S. Navy

The company said in a statement that India’s decision to add 24 MH-60Rs to its fleet means that they join fellow navies from the United States, Denmark, Australia and Saudi Arabia in operating the MN-60R.

The company says that this agreement builds on an existing 30-year relationship between Lockheed Martin and the Indian armed forces. Lockheed Martin’s presence in India includes industrial involvement and programs like the S-92, C-130 and F-21.

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The U.S. Navy was the first to adopt the MH-60R helicopter in 2006. Since then, the Navy’s fleet has grown to 289 MH-60Rs that complete missions like search for enemy submarines, conduct daring at-sea rescues and engage undersea threats.

The Seahawk’s sustainment has been so successful that the Secretary of Defense recently awarded the Lockheed Martin team with its Performance Based Logistics (PBL) award. The award recognizes the “Outstanding creativity and innovation, resulting in superb combat readiness and superlative cost-wise performance to the fleet.”

Australia acquired its first MH-60R in 2013, and has since expanded to 24 helicopters. They use the MH-60R primarily as its next-generation submarine hunter and anti-surface warfare helicopter.

Denmark purchased nine MH-60Rs in 2016. There the helicopter has proved it can operate and land even in the rugged conditions of the North Seas. Denmark has used their MH-60Rs supporting anti-piracy operations for NATO.

In 2018, the Royal Saudi Navy placed an order for ten MH-60R helicopters. Saudi Arabia will operate its MH-60Rs in conjunction with the country’s next-generation Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) ships, also built by Lockheed Martin.

Sen. Doug Jones is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Jones joined the U.S. Senate in 2018 after upsetting former Chief Justice Roy Moore (R) in a December 2017 special election. Jones faces a stiff re-election challenge in November.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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