Indian Navy may finalise $2-bn deal for MH60R Seahawk multirole naval helicopter

Indian Navy is expected to conclude contract with the US-based aerospace giant Lockheed Martin for 24 MH60R Seahawk multirole naval helicopters by October this year.

Indian Navy close to finalise 2 bn for MH60R Seahawk Multirole Naval Helicopter An MH-60R Seahawk conducting sonar operations (Picture source: US Navy)

The Indian Navy $2 billion deal under the US Foreign Military Sales the programme, is not only to replace the fleet of Sea King Mk 42B/C and Ka-28 helicopters but with its capabilities will help in countering the aggressiveness of China in the Indian Ocean region.

Once the contract is signed the delivery is expected to start by 2020 and to be completed in 48 months later, these machines are designed to operate from frigates, destroyers, cruisers and aircraft carriers. India has a major requirement for anti-submarine hunter helicopters for more than a decade now.

According to sources, there is a requirement of at least 123 helicopters for the Indian Navy. The contract will be signed for 24 machines manufactured in the US and later Indian side has plans to manufacture these locally. Lockheed Martin’s MH-60R Seahawk helicopter which is considered the world’s most advanced maritime helicopter, are currently deployed with the US Navy as the primary anti-submarine warfare anti-surface weapon system for open ocean and littoral zones.

Once this deal is finalised the military trade between the two countries is expected to touch $20 billion.