Australia has requested a total of 24 MH-60R Seahawk Multimission helicopters and associated equipment from the US under a potential $2.1bn foreign military sales programme.

The proposed sale includes 60 T-700 GE 401Cs, communication equipment, support equipment, spare and repair parts, training and logistics support services.

Australia wants the military equipment to enhance the navy’s anti-submarine and surface warfare capability and provide an improved search and rescue, and anti-ship surveillance capability.

The defence equipment will also be used for future contingency operations including humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and stability operations in the Asia-Pacific region.

The prime contractors, which will supply the helicopters and equipment, include Sikorsky Aircraft, Lockheed Martin, General Electric and Raytheon.