Home/ News / India/  India to get 3 Seahawks helicopters during Jun-Sep

NEW DELHI : India is expected to receive the first batch of three fourth-generation MH-60R Seahawk helicopters between June and September, two people familiar said on Tuesday, seeking anonymity.

India had in February last year placed a $2.6 billion order with Sikorsky-Lockheed Martin for 24 Seahawks, and the US-based firm said it will be able to meet the delivery deadline for the first three helicopters.

The three Seahawks will be handed over to the Indian embassy in Washington, the people cited above said. They will replace the British-made Sea King helicopters that New Delhi acquired in the 1970s.

The MH-60R is in service with the US Navy, Royal Danish Navy, Royal Australian Navy and Royal Saudi Naval Forces. Greece is also in the process of acquiring Seahawks for its naval fleet.

The Seahawk deal was cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) ahead of former US president Donald Trump’s visit to India.

The helicopters are being acquired through the government-to-government foreign military sales (FMS) route. The helicopters will be fitted with torpedoes and missiles, and are expected to bolster the Navy’s anti-submarine warfare capabilities in the Indian Ocean region, considering that China has deployed submarines and other warships to establish its dominance in the region.

The Seahawks are expected to add to India’s submarine hunting capabilities, along with the Navy’s Boeing P-8I aircraft, and the Sea Guardian drones taken on lease from a US company.

In recent years, China’s dominance in the Indian Ocean region, which is a major west to east trade route, has been a cause for concern.

The Indian Navy last year described the Seahawks as “a force multiplier". The deal includes training of navy pilots and ground staff, besides air-to-ground weapons support and spares.

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Updated: 10 Mar 2021, 12:35 AM IST
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