WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department approved the sale of up to eight MH-60R multi-mission helicopters to Spain in a deal potentially worth $950 million.

The sale would also include a range of weapons and systems — Hellfire air-to-surface missiles, Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) II guidance sections, communications equipment, Airborne Low Frequency Sonars, sonobuoys and more — to enable surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare and electronic warfare by these ship-based helicopters.

According to a State Department notification released March 15, “The MH-60R Multi-Mission Helicopter will provide the capability to perform anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare missions along with the ability to perform secondary missions including vertical replenishment, search and rescue, and communications relay and will bolster the Spanish Navy’s ability to support NATO and remain interoperable with the U.S. and the NATO alliance.”

Spain has previously flown the older SH-60B Seahawk model.

A growing number of countries are buying and fielding Lockheed Martin’s MH-60R. Current Romeo customers include the U.S. Navy, Royal Danish Navy, Royal Australian Navy, Royal Saudi Naval Forces and the Hellenic Navy. In 2021, South Korea and India placed orders for the helicopters as well.

The helicopter would be particularly useful to Spain because of the built-in integration between the Romeo and Lockheed Martin’s Aegis Combat System, which Spain’s Álvaro de Bazán-class air-defense frigate is equipped with.

Megan Eckstein is the naval warfare reporter at Defense News. She has covered military news since 2009, with a focus on U.S. Navy and Marine Corps operations, acquisition programs, and budgets. She has reported from four geographic fleets and is happiest when she’s filing stories from a ship. Megan is a University of Maryland alumna.

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