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The Maritime Helicopter Support Company (MHSCo) - a joint venture of leading aerospace companies – Sikorsky, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (UTX - Analyst Report) and Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT - Analyst Report) – recently laid the foundation for building  maintenance and warehouse facilities for the Royal Australian Navy's new fleet of 24 MH-60R SEAHAWK helicopters.

Situated at the Albatross Aviation Technology Park and spread over 120,000 square feet, the facility will provide Through Life Support logistics services for the MH-60R SEAHAWK helicopters during its projected 30-year life span. The project is scheduled to be completed in early 2015.

The facility will house experts from Brisbane-based Sikorsky Helitech to assist in helicopter aftermarket support, Lockheed Martin Australia to handle mission systems and avionics, and General Electric Co. (GE - Analyst Report) for its proficiency in engines.

The MH-60R, manufactured by Sikorsky, is armed with advanced mission systems and sensors by Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training (MST). These helicopters can detect modern submarines in coastal and open ocean scenarios and can conduct anti-surface warfare missions with other aircrafts. Their secondary functions include search and rescue, medical evacuation, electronic support measures and vertical replenishment.

MHSCo’s Logistics

MHSCo will provide unique, integrated support solutions to the Australian Navy fleet, ensuring that the helicopters are in peak flight readiness. MHSCo will customize its capabilities to suit the support requirements of the SEAHAWK fleet.

While the day-to-day operational maintenance will be the duty of Naval Air Station Nowra personnel, MHSCo's Through Life Support facilities will be responsible for induction of scheduled and unscheduled depot level airframe maintenance. MHSCo will provide logistics support, inventory management, and ground support equipment as well as carry out periodic helicopter and component maintenance. It will be in charge of installing aircraft upgrades and modifications and conducting a full strip and repaint of the aircraft.

Going Forward

MHSCo aims to provide aftermarket and logistics support to increase aircraft mission readiness. Serving as a single point of contact for helicopter parts from multiple suppliers, MHSCo has fulfilled an important requirement for the U.S. Navy and is now spreading its operations to cover more territory.

MHSCo excels at providing sophisticated performance-based logistics (PBL) support to over 500 U.S. Navy H-60 helicopters, thus enabling a significant increase in operational efficiency. Using PBL, a model for all defense aviation support programs, MHSCo intends to develop a cost-effective and efficient aftermarket support program for meeting global naval helicopter support needs.

Both Lockheed Martin and United Technologies currently sport a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Another notable stock in the aerospace industry is Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. (HII - Snapshot Report), which holds a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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