The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) of India has reportedly approved the procurement of 24 MH-60R multi-role helicopters from the US.
The $2.6bn worth helicopter acquisition is for the Indian Navy and will be done through the US foreign military sales (FMS) programme.
An official was quoted by The Economic Times as saying: “The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) cleared the procurement of 24 MH-60R multi-role helicopters for the navy.”
In April 2018, the procurement was cleared by the Defence Acquisition Council, while the sale was also approved by the US State Department in April last year. US Congress has also been notified about the possible sale.
Lockheed Martin was selected to serve as the sale’s principal contractor. The helicopters will replace the Sea King helicopters that were phased out in 2000.
According to US Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the MH-60R Seahawk helicopters will enhance India’s capability to perform anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare missions.
It will also support search and rescue, vertical replenishment, and communications relay missions.
The Indian Navy’s helicopters will be equipped with Hellfire missiles, MK 54 torpedoes, and precision kill weapon system.
The MH-60R Seahawk helicopter is the US Navy’s primary anti-submarine warfare anti-surface weapon system. The aircraft can operate from frigates, destroyers, cruisers and aircraft carriers.
According to Lockheed Martin, more than 300 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters across the globe have logged in over 600,000 flight hours.