The Australian Navy will acquire 24 MH-60R Seahawk Romeo naval combat helicopters, valued at over A$3bn (US$3.1bn) following approval from the government.

Purchased through the foreign military sales process, the new helicopters will provide the navy with air to surface strike capabilities and the capacity to provide at least eight warships with a combat helicopter simultaneously.

The Romeo helicopters will be equipped with combat systems designed to employ Hellfire air-to-surface missile and the mk54 anti-submarine torpedo, and will replace the 16 Seahawk S-70B-2 helicopters.

The first two helicopters will arrive in mid 2014 for testing and evaluation and are expected to begin operations in mid 2015.