New Delhi: India is expected to soon get one of the most advanced naval helicopters capable of hunting submarines in the sea and launching anti-surface mission. US state department has approved the sale of 24 MH-60R multi-mission helicopters for an estimated cost of $2.6 billion to India.
Indian Navy has been seeking these helicopters on an urgent basis. Currently, India is using British Sea King copters which are around 50 years old. The US said that the proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to strengthen “the US-Indian strategic relationships and to improve the security of a major defensive partner which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region.”
“India will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defence,” said US.
It said that the proposed sale of “this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.”
The chopper has been designed for hunting submarines as well as knocking out ships and conducting search-and-rescue operations at sea.
These are built by Lockheed Martin and are most capable naval helicopter available today designed to operate from frigates, destroyers, cruisers and aircraft carriers.
As per US department notification, the helicopters will be equipped with Hellfire missiles, Raytheon MK 54 torpedoes and BAE Systems Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System laser-guided rockets.
There will be M-240D and GAU-21 crew-served machine guns, night vision devices and identification friend or foe transponders. Along with these there will be Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile emulators and captive inert training missiles, although not the missiles themselves.
The US Navy has deployed these copters as its primary anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface weapons system.
The MH-60R Seahawks would add lethal capabilities of the Indian Navy, which experts say is the need of the hour given the aggressive behaviour of China in the Indian Ocean region....