In a move aimed at bolstering India’s maritime capabilities, the Indian Navy is poised to commission the MH-60R Seahawk helicopters. 

Scheduled for commissioning on March 6th, 2024, at INS Garuda, Kochi, the induction of MH-60R Seahawk helicopters into the Indian Navy under the INAS 334 squadron will improve the nation’s maritime strength.

Derived from the Blackhawk helicopter, the Seahawk variant is known for its versatility, catering to various operational requirements, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, search and rescue missions, medical evacuations, and vertical replenishment operations.

In recent years, Lockheed Martin‘s MH-60R Seahawk helicopters have seen global take-up as nations strengthen their maritime capabilities. AustraliaSpainNorway, and Greece have announced acquisitions recently, signalling a surge in demand for these aircraft. 

The deployment of these Indian helicopters comes as part of a 24-aircraft Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract inked with the United States government in February 2020. The tested MH-60R Seahawk helicopters have undergone trials in Indian Reference Atmosphere (IRA) conditions, ensuring integration into the Indian Navy’s fleet.

India signed the $2.6bn deal to acquire the MH-60R Seahawk ASW warfare helicopters and six additional AH-64E Apache helicopters for a value of $800m. The country took delivery of the first two units in July 2021, as per GlobalData’s “India Defense Market 2023-2028” report. 

Despite ordering a preliminary batch of 24 US-built MH-60R Romeo helicopters to meet its immediate needs, The Indian Navy has a standing requirement for 123 Naval Multi-Role Helicopters, which remains unfulfilled.

With weaponry, sensors, and avionics suites, the Seahawks have been acquired to enhance the Indian Navy’s operational capabilities, addressing both conventional and asymmetric threats equally. This infusion of technology extends the operational reach of the Indian Navy and also reinforces its maritime presence, particularly in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

The commissioning of MH-60R Seahawk helicopters shows the Indian Navy’s commitment to safeguarding maritime security, aligning with the government’s vision of ensuring security and growth for all in the region. By bolstering its blue-water capabilities, India stands poised to navigate the complexities of contemporary maritime challenges, fostering a secure and stable environment in one of the world’s most strategically crucial regions.