DEFENCE has confirmed a $57.5 million Seahawk Romeo helicopter had to be replaced before deploying to the Middle East earlier this month after suffering damaged in a “transportation mishap”.
The South Coast Register reported on Friday a MH-60 Romeo Seahawk from 725 Squadron at HMAS Albatross was damaged onboard HMAS Warramunga on its way to Perth before heading to the Gulf.
Defence has confirmed the aircraft was transiting Bass Strait onboard Warramunga on October 9, when the Romeo was “damaged in a heavy sea state”.
A Defence spokesperson said an initial investigation revealed one of the lashings securing the helicopter failed.
“The aircraft was replaced with another MH-60R Seahawk and Warramunga’s deployment to the Middle East has not been affected,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson would not comment further on the extent of damage to the aircraft, which the Register understands is significant after the helicopter allegedly ‘bounced’ around the hangar area, causing significant damage.
It is understood due the extent of damage to the air frame, it might be “a write-off”.
There was believed to also be significant damage to Warramunga’s hangar area but Defence would not say how much, only that investigations into the incident were ongoing.
The Australian Government purchased 24 MH-60R Seahawk Romeo naval combat helicopters at a cost of over $3 billion to replace the S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopters.
Seen as the future of naval aviation, the Romeo is equipped with a highly sophisticated combat systems designed to employ Hellfire air-to-surface missiles and the Mark 54 anti-submarine torpedo.
Its primary mission is anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare but also has the ability to undertake search and rescue, logistics support, personnel transport and medical evacuation.