New Delhi: Ahead of US President Donald Trump’s visit next week, Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday cleared a $2.4 billion deal to purchase 24 American multi-role MH-60 ‘Romeo’ Seahawk anti-submarine helicopters for the Indian Navy, said sources.
India is purchasing these Lockheed Martin-built helicopters under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route. United States government’s Foreign Military Sales programme is a means for its allies to acquire defence articles, services, and training through government-to-government agreements.
India has been in need of formidable anti-submarine hunter helicopters for more than a decade now. The MH-60 helicopters would replenish India’s ageing fleet of British-made Sea King helicopters.
India has started buying weapons and hydrocarbons from US to improve ties and prevent a trade war with the US.
Trump had been vocal over trade deficit with India and had in past even called India “tariff king of the world.”
India’s exports to the US in 2017-18 were at $47.9 billion, while imports were $26.7 billion.
India has recently bought Apache and Chinook helicopters from US. According to some estimates India has signed $17 billion defence deals with US since 2007.
In 2018, PSU GAIL had signed two, 20-year LNG supply agreements potentially worth $32 billion for US LNG exports from the Dominion Cove Point project in Maryland and the Sabine Pass project in Louisiana. The first liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipment from the US arrived at the Dabhol terminal of state-run gas major Gail in March 2018.
Last year, US had approved the sale of 24 multi-role MH-60 ‘Romeo’ Seahawk helicopters to India at an estimated cost of $2.4 billion.
It is the world’s most advanced maritime helicopter and can operate from frigates, destroyers, cruisers and aircraft carriers.