US clears sale of MH-60R helicopters to South Korea

The US state department has approved the sale of twelve MH-60R multi-mission helicopters to the Republic of Korea.

The country earlier seemed poised to acquire 12 Leonardo AW159 Wildcat anti-submarine helicopters but South Korea’s defense procurement agency (DAPA) announced earlier this year it would evaluate a US proposal for the second batch of ASW helicopters.

The state department clearance does not necessarily mean a contract has been, or will be, signed. However, it sheds light on what Korea would buy as an enhancement to the current eight AW159s operated by the navy, should the Lockheed Martin option be chosen.

In addition to the 12 MH-60Rs, South Korea would also be buying multi-mode radars low frequency sonar systems, multi-spectral targeting systems, M-240D crew served guns, GAU-21 crew served guns and sonobuoys.

The proposed sale, with support included, would cost the ROK Navy an estimated $800 million, according to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

The prime contractor would be Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems.

Photo: Illustration; US Navy file photo of an MH-60R helicopter