The U.S. Defense Department is accelerating delivery of UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters to Australia, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said.
Austin welcomed Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Marles to the Pentagon today for an enhanced honor cordon and meeting.
Austin noted that some of the Black Hawks have already arrived in Australia, with more to follow.
The Black Hawks are replacing Australia's MRH-90 Taipan helicopters on a faster-than-normal timeline, following the crash of an MRH-90 in Queensland during Exercise Talisman Sabre on July 28, after which all MRH-90s were grounded.
Australia and the U.S. face major shared challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, including China's bullying and destabilizing actions, Austin said.
"The future of our relationship, and especially our defense cooperation, looks brighter than ever. We share a vision with our friends across the Indo-Pacific of a region that is free, open and secure. And we're committed to making that vision a reality," Austin said.
Marles said Australia is "enormously grateful" to the United States for speeding the delivery of the Black Hawks.
"This is something that we really appreciate, and is again, an example of America standing up in a moment which we really need it," Marles said.
Both defense leaders noted the close military cooperation with regional partners, including Japan, Korea and the Philippines.