MH-60R, the world’s most advanced maritime helicopter was inducted to Indian navy by the US navy today. This is yet another sign of strengthening India-US defence relationship.
The ceremony procuring the first two MH-60R multi role helicopters was held at the Naval Air Station North Island or NAS North Island, San Diego on Friday. It was attended by India’s ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu.
The Indian navy is procuring 24 helicopters in total for $2.4 billion. Ambassador Sandhu noted in his tweet that the trade has expanded to over 20 billion dollars in the past couple of years. “India US friendship is touching skies”, he tweeted.
There are over 300 Seahawks in service worldwide including US, Danish, Australian and Saudi Arabian navies. It was introduced in US navy in 2006. The procurement of 24 Seahawks was cleared by the fence ministry on August 25, 2018.
Skirosky Aircraft developed the MH-60R Seahawk multi-mission helicopter also known as “Romeo”, inorder to replace the US Navy’s SR-60 & SH-60 helicopter fleet.
The MH-60R features a spacious cabin to fit 4 flight crew and five passengers. Dimensions of cabin are 3.2m long, 1.3 m high and 1.8 m wide. The helicopter is equipped with digital open architecture, night vision, mass memory data storage, flight management computer and operations software.
The helicopter can be armed with Mk 54 lightweight torepodoes for ASW missions. A number of weapons can be carried including eight Hellfire antisurface missiles and .50 calibre guns for ASuW missions.
The MH-60R is tolerant against small arms fore and medium calibre high-explosive projectiles. The energy absorbing landing gear offers increased survivability in the battlefield.
The 24 procured helicopters would be modified with several India-unique equipment and weapons.
“The induction of these helicopters would enhance the Indian Navy’s three dimensional capabilities…. Inorder to exploit these porent helicopters the first batch of Indian crew is presently undergoing training in the US” said the spokesperson