The Indian Navy’s first MH-60R production helicopter has conducted its maiden flight in Owego, New York.

The milestone was announced by the US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) via Twitter.

NAVAIR tweeted: “The first India production aircraft takes flight in Owego, NY. India will receive a total of 24 aircraft. #BZ to the #NAVAIR PMA-299 team on securing three FMS cases in calendar year 2020.”

It was carried out at Lockheed Martin’s Rotary and Mission Systems (RMS) plant.

Lockheed Martin company Sikorsky Aircraft is under contract to produce the MH-60R Seahawk multi-mission naval helicopter.

In February last year, India and the US signed a deal for the procurement of MH-60R Seahawk helicopters for the Indian Navy.

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Under the $2.12bn deal, 24 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters will be purchased to replace the Sea King helicopters.

Out of the 24 choppers, delivery of the first six is expected to take place this year.

The MH-60 is expected to fill the Indian Navy’s requirement gaps. The navy currently owns a few ageing Sea King and Kamov choppers.

The MH-60R integrates advanced mission systems and sensors developed by Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training (MST).

The helicopters are designed to conduct a range of operations, such as anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, vertical replenishment, surveillance, search and rescue, personnel transport, and logistics support.

In August last year, Sikorsky Australia won a through-life sustainment support contract for the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) MH-60R (Romeo) helicopters.