The Maritime Helicopter Support Company (MHSCo), a Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin joint venture company, today broke ground to build the maintenance and warehouse facilities that will provide Through Life Support logistics services for the Royal Australian Navy's new fleet of 24 MH-60R SEAHAWK helicopters. Once completed in early 2015, the two buildings, totaling more than 11,400 square meters (120,000 square feet), will house as many as 120 personnel with the knowledge and ability to keep the fleet in peak flight readiness during its estimated 30-year lifespan.
"Excavation and construction of these Through Life Support buildings begin an important chapter for the long-term readiness of Australia's most sophisticated maritime helicopter," said Rod Skotty, President of MHSCo. "Our company's experience supplying repaired parts for more than 500 U.S. Navy H-60 maritime helicopters around the world will directly carry over to a larger business model specially configured for Australia's maritime helicopter needs, and carried out by skilled Australian technicians and administrators inside a modern, dedicated space."
Sited at the Albatross Aviation Technology Park, adjacent to the Royal Australian Navy's MH-60R operational squadron facilities at the Naval Air Station Nowra, the Through Life Support facilities consist of an 8,300-square-meter (89,000 square feet) Maintenance Repair Operation building to service the 24 helicopters and a warehouse of 3,100 square meters (33,000 square feet). The buildings are to be completed in early 2015.
The facilities also will house representatives from Brisbane-based Sikorsky Helitech (which specializes in helicopter aftermarket support), Lockheed Martin Australia (mission systems and avionics), and General Electric (engines).
While NAS Nowra personnel will perform day-to-day operational maintenance on the MH-60R fleet, MHSCo's Through Life Support facilities will be responsible for a higher level of maintenance at periodic intervals. Aircraft will be inducted for scheduled and unscheduled depot level airframe maintenance, or deeper level maintenance, as it is known in Australia.
MHSCo also will carry out logistics and inventory management of spares and repaired parts; house ground support equipment; provide periodic helicopter and component maintenance; install aircraft upgrades and modifications; and conduct a full strip and repaint of aircraft.
MH-60R helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky and mission systems integrator Lockheed Martin formed MHSCo in 2000 to respond to the U.S. Navy's need for a single point of contract for hundreds of helicopter parts from multiple suppliers. Today, MHSCo supplies more than 1,300 different components for five U.S. Navy H-60 helicopter types, at high efficiency levels.
Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin have delivered to the U.S. Navy a total of 185 (of 280) MH-60R aircraft for anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare missions. To date, the Royal Australian Navy has received four completed MH-60R aircraft, as part of a Commonwealth/U.S. Government agreement, contracted in 2011.
The Royal Australian Navy's first eight MH-60R helicopters will transition with their aircrews from the training site in Jacksonville, Fla., to NAS Nowra beginning in late 2014. At that time, MHSCo's current staff of 30 employees will have grown to more than 70 employees.
Sikorsky Helitech is overseeing construction of the MHSCo Through Life Support facilities and associated infrastructure by Jones Lang LaSalle, which is contracted to complete the work to meet the latest national and international standards for health and safety.