Indian Navy inducts first 2 MH-60R multi-role helicopters from the US
The Indian Navy has enhanced its aviation capabilities and detecting enemy submarines with the acceptance of the first two MH-60R multi-role helicopters (MRH) from the US Navy. The two countries have inked a deal for 24 such versatile helicopters manufactured by Lockheed Martin. The contract is worth 2.4 billion dollars. The helicopters are coming in through a foreign military sale route (FMS). As per the FMS, the US government stands guarantee for all terms and conditions of the contract as it was inked between the two governments.
Giving details of the first two helicopters, Indian Navy officials said the US Navy on Friday handed over the helicopters in a ceremony in North Island, San Diego. The ceremony marked the formal transfer of these helicopters which were accepted by the Indian ambassador to Washington Taranjit Singh Sandhu.
The induction of these MH-60R multi-role helicopters would enhance the Indian Navy’s three-dimensional capabilities, officials said.
The ceremony also witnessed the exchange of helicopter documents between Vice Admiral Kenneth Whitesell, Commander Naval Air Forces, USN, and Vice Admiral Ravneet Singh. The MH-60R helicopter manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corporation is an all-weather helicopter designed to support multiple missions with state-of-the-art avionics and sensors.
The helicopters would also be modified with several India Unique Equipment and weapons. The first batch of Indian crew is presently undergoing training in the USA to exploit these potent helicopters. The induction of these MRH would enhance the Indian Navy’s three-dimensional capabilities, officials said.
The Indian ambassador said the induction of the all-weather multi-role helicopters is an important milestone in India-US bilateral defense ties. “India US friendship Touching the Skies!” he said in a tweet (given below). He noted that the bilateral defence trade has expanded to over 20 billion dollars in the last couple of years. Going beyond defence trade, India and the US are also working together on co-production and co-development of defense platforms, he said.
— India in USA (@IndianEmbassyUS) July 17, 2021
Sandhu also highlighted reform measures that have been undertaken by India in the defence sector in recent times that have opened up new opportunities for foreign investors. According to the Department of Defense, the proposed sale will provide India the capability to perform anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare missions and perform secondary missions, including vertical replenishment, search and rescue, and communications relay.
India will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and strengthen its homeland defence. India will have no difficulty absorbing these helicopters into its armed forces, it had said in a communication to the Congress in April 2019. The Indian cabinet had cleared the purchase of the helicopters in February 2020, weeks before the then US President Donald Trump’s visit.
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