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US approves $1.2 billion sale to Mexico of 8 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters

Proposed sale also includes Hellfire missiles and Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System II precision guided rockets

The U.S. State Department approved the sale of eight MH-60R Seahawk multi-mission helicopters along with missiles, rockets, guns and other equipment for an estimated cost of $1.2 billion, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a release.

Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk helicopter
Sailors conduct a vertical replenishment with an MH-60R Seahawk helicopter on the flight deck of the guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), April 7, 2018. Image: US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Evan Thompson

The proposed sale also includes 20 T-700 GE 401 C engines, 16 multi-mode radars and other installed equipment along with 30 night vision devices and 1,000 sonobuoys used for anti-submarine warfare, the Thursday, April 19 release said.

The aircraft will be armed with GAU-21 .50 caliber heavy machine guns and M-240D 7.62 mm general-purpose machine guns, and 12 of each are included in the sale.

Ten AGM-114 Hellfire precision-guided air-to-surface missiles along with and Hellfire training missiles, 38 Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System II precision-guided rockets and 30 Mk-54 lightweight hybrid torpedoes complete the proposed weapons systems.

The usual facilities study, design, and construction, spare and repair parts; support and test equipment, training, engineering, and other program support are also included.

Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk helicopter
An MH-60R Seahawk helicopter takes off from the flight deck of the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), February 27, 2018. Image: US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kaysee Lohmann

“Mexico has been a strong partner in combating organized crime and drug trafficking organizations,” DSCA said. “Mexico intends to use these defense articles and services to modernize its armed forces and expand its existing naval and maritime support of national security requirements and in its efforts to combat criminal organizations.”

DSCA said the helicopters will “enable Mexico to perform anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare missions and secondary missions including vertical replenishment, search and rescue, and communications relay.”

The principal contractor will be Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems, and implementation will require the assignment of additional U.S. government and/or contractor representatives to Mexico.

In January, the U.S. State Department approved the sale of Harpoon, Rolling Airframe Missiles and torpedoes use on its new Sigma-class naval patrol frigate.

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