The United States handed over first two MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’ utility maritime helicopters to the Indian Navy at Naval Air Station North Island in Sand Diego on 16 July. A ceremony to hand over the aircraft to the Navy was held at the Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego. Ihe Indian Navy inducted the first two of 24 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters from the US Navy $2.4 billion contract that will enhance navy-to-navy cooperation, and strengthen combined subsurface and surface warfare capability and capacity in the Indo-Pacific region.
The deal was concluded in February 2020 during President Donald Trump’s visit to India. The MH-60R deal will be conducted under the US government’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process. The DSCA package includes the 24 helicopters as well as weapons, sensors, support equipment, and services that are consistent with a high-end ASW and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) capability. Weapons include AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System (APKWS) rockets, Mk54 torpedoes, and two-types of crew served guns.
The Sikorsky SH-60/MH-60 Seahawk (or Sea Hawk) is a twin turboshaft engine, multi-mission United States Navy helicopter based on the United States Army UH-60 Black Hawk and a member of the Sikorsky S-70 family. The MH-60R was originally known as “LAMPS Mark III Block II Upgrade” when development began in 1993 with Lockheed Martin (formerly IBM/Loral). The production variant was redesignated MH-60R to match its multi-mission capability. The MH-60R was formally deployed by the US Navy in 2006.
Anti-Submarine Warfare and Surface Warfare are the MH-60R’s primary missions. Secondary missions include Search and Rescue, Vertical Replenishment, Naval Surface Fire Support, logistics support, personnel transport, Medical Evacuation, and VHF/UHF/Link Communication Relay. Offensive capabilities are improved by the addition of new Mk-54 air-launched torpedoes and Hellfire missiles. All Helicopter Anti-Submarine Light (HSL) squadrons that receive the Romeo are redesignated Helicopter, Strike Maritime (HSM) squadrons.