The Greek government is weighing a possible purchase of up to four Lockheed Martin-Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk maritime multirole helicopters per an announcement on February 12.
If procured, these MH-60Rs would allow the Hellenic Navy to augment its inventory of 11 Sikorsky S-70B-6 Aegean Hawks. The arrival of the new helicopters would also enable the Navy to retire its aging fleet of seven Agusta-Bell AB212 anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopters that are nearing the end of their useful service lives.
Any procurement by Greece would be conducted via the U.S. government-to-government foreign military sales (FMS) process. The acquisition project would first need to be signed off on by the Defense Council and Hellenic Governmental Council on Foreign Affairs and National Defense (KYSEA).
Following years of “troika” (European Commission, European Central Bank, and IMF)-imposed austerity budgeting aimed at closing a massive budget deficit and righting Greece’s over-extended debt position, the Greek government finally emerged from its last three-year bailout program with a clean exit on August 20, 2018. Though government financial latitude remains limited by the economic and debt woes that still straightjacket the country, modest procurements remain viable.
The latest proposed acquisition would patch an emerging capabilities gap while improving capability, as well as ensure Greece can continue to defend its littoral domains in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas.