New Delhi: The Indian Navy on Thursday said that the delivery of 24 American multi-role MH-60 ‘Romeo’ helicopters will start from early 2021 and it will play an important role in maritime security at a time when the Indian Ocean Region is witnessing increasing security threat due to proliferation of submarines.
India had signed the $2.4 billion deal to buy these 24 helicopters during the visit of US President Donald Trump on Tuesday.
“These helicopters are a replacement for the Sea King 42/42A helicopters already decommissioned in the 1990s and envisaged to operate from front-line ships and aircraft carriers providing them the critical attributes of flexibility of operation, enhanced surveillance and attacking capability,” said the Indian Navy in a statement.
It said that MH-60 ‘Romeo’ Seahawk helicopters can be effectively employed for offensive and defensive roles including anti-submarine warfare, anti-ship strike, low intensity maritime operations, search and rescue, over the horizon network centric operations and electronic warfare.
“The helicopter’s capability of prolonged maritime operations and seamless integration with the P8i and ships at sea makes it a ‘force multiplier’,” said the Indian Navy.
It said that as part of the Indian Navy’s commitment to the ‘Make in India’ initiative, Lockheed Martin would also be discharging offsets through transfer of technology to Indian offset partners for manufacture of products and services. “This would enable absorption of niche technology, skill development and manufacture of eligible products/services leading to generation of employment, skilling of MSMEs and indigenous production of products for buy-back by the OEM,” it said.
The MH - 60R Multi Role Helicopters (MRH) are being procured under the ‘Buy (Global)’ Category through Foreign Military Sales.
“ The acquisition of MH-60R provides Indian Navy with a key capability and effectively contributes to the Make in India initiative,” said Indian Navy.