Navy to buy 24 MH-60R multi-role helicopters from US

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on February 28, 2020

New helicopters to replace Sea King 42/42A helicopters procured in the ’70

Two days after signing a $3-billion defence deal related to the acquisition of Seahawk multi-role helicopters for the Indian Navy and Apache attack helicopters for the Army, the Indian Navy has announced that 24 MH-60R multi-role helicopters (MRH) will be procured under the Buy (Global) category through Foreign Military Sales. A contract for the MRH was signed on February 25.

India and the US have concluded defence deals for 24 MH-60R MRH and six AH-64E Apache helicopters.

The Indian Navy said the MH-60R MRH are a replacement for the Sea King 42/42A helicopters, inducted in the 1970s and decommissioned in the 1990s. The Lockheed Martin-built helicopters are envisaged to operate from frontline ships and aircraft carriers providing them critical attributes of flexibility of operation, enhanced surveillance and attack capability.

“The delivery of the helicopters is planned to commence in early 2021 and comes at a time when the Indian Ocean Region is witnessing increasing security threat due to proliferation of submarines,” the Indian Navy said in a statement.

The helicopters would be effectively employed for offensive and defensive roles including anti-submarine warfare, anti-ship strike, low intensity maritime operations, network-centric operations and electronic warfare.

The helicopter’s capability of prolonged maritime operations and seamless integration with the P8i and ships at sea make it a “force multiplier”, the statement added.

The deal, which had been pending since 2011, includes transfer of technology by manufacturer Lockheed Martin and is set to enable absorption of niche technology and skill development. The OEM (Lockheed Martin) would also be discharging offsets through transfer of technology to Indian offset partners for the manufacture of products and services under the Indian Navy commitment to the ‘Make in India’ initiative.

While this would enable absorption of niche technology, the statement added the skill development and manufacture of eligible products and services would lead to generation of employment, skilling of MSMEs and indigenous production of products for buyback by the OEM.

Published on February 28, 2020

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