Indian Navy to soon have MH-60 multi-role Romeo Sikorsky helicopters, which will give a boost to its in expanding its role in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). This was a long-pending demand of the Indian Navy, which was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) a week ahead of US President Donald Trump's two-day visit to India.
Trump had already arrived on a two-day visit to India, his first official state visit to India since taking office in 2017. The government-to-government deal, which was cleared on February 19, involves acquisition of 24 MH-60R 24 MH-60R Seahawk maritime helicopters from the US-based Lockheed Martin group. The MH-60Rs will be purchased directly from the US government under a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) agreement with the US Department of Defence (DoD). The deal to acquire these choppers from the US comes at a cost of $2.6 billion.
The deal was approved by then Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in August 2018. The United States Department of State gave its nod in April 2019.
Key features of MH-60 Sikorsky Romeo multi-role helicopter
- The MH-60 is designed to hunt down submarines and will add to the strategic depth and combat capability of the Indian Navy.
- The fleet will boost the Indian Navy's anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare operations. It is capable of conducting highly efficient reconnaissance missions.
- The MH 60 multi-role Romeo Sikorsky helicopters will replace ageing British-made Sea King helicopters. The first batch of formidable MH-60 Romeo helicopters is scheduled to be delivered by the US manufacturer in two years' time.
- The multi-role helicopters will be deployed on warships and will be very effective in keeping the submarine threat posed by the extra-regional Navies, including China and Pakistan, in the Indian Ocean Region.
- The MH Romeo Seahawk helicopter is an advanced helicopter and a very potent Air ASW (AASW) platform.
- These helicopters will be used in Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW), Anti Surface warfare (ASuW), Command and Control, ESM roles besides Search and Rescue (SAR), Vertical Replenishment (VERTREP) roles, etc.
- The MH-60 helicopters, which are currently deployed with the US Navy, are considered as the most capable naval helicopter available today.