The Brazilian Navy has inducted two new Seahawk S-70B multi-mission maritime helicopters into its First Anti -Submarine Helicopter Squadron, as part of the service's boarder modernisation programme.
Brazilian defence minister Celso Amorim said the helicopters will help modernise the Navy and protect the country's maritime approaches.
"We cannot neglect our wealth, including the Pre-Sal [off-shore] area," Amorim added.
The two Seahawk helicopters, designated MH-16 in Brazil, are equipped with a fuel system to offer five hours of continuous flight to conduct missions, an integrated communications suite, maritime surveillance radar and a thermal imaging system.
Built by Sikorsky, the Brazilian Seahawks feature a low-frequency dipping sonar, digital automatic flight control and dual flight management systems, and a GPS inertial navigation system.
Additional features include a glass cockpit compatible with night-vision goggles, a survivability suite combining missile warning and countermeasure dispensing systems and Kongsberg's Penguin Mk 2 Mod 7 anti-ship missile.
Capable of reaching speeds of more than 290km/h, the helicopter can be used to perform coastal and oceanic missions in addition to anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, surveillance, and gunfire support and search-and-rescue operations.
As part of the US Foreign Military Sales programme, the navy will receive a total of six new Seahawk helicopters, of which four will be inducted into service by the end of 2012.
Delivery of all six S-70Bs will be completed in 2014 to replace the Navy's SH-3A/B Sea King helicopters, which have been used by the Naval Aviation for more than 40 years and scheduled to retire by 2015.
Image: Brazilian officials during S-70B induction ceremony at São Pedro da Aldeia (Rio de Janeiro state). Photo: Portal do Ministério da Defesa.