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11:05 AM, February 5, 2019
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MH-60R (image: Zawya)

Lockheed Martin is waiting for US State Department Clearance for India's request to purchase 24 multi-role MH-60R Romeo anti-submarine helicopters.

"The US Navy is preparing its response, which is expected to be delivered shortly," Vivek Lall, Vice President, Aeronautics Strategy and Business Development at Lockheed Martin told PTI.

"The MH-60R 'Romeo' is the right aircraft for the Indian Navy as it provides a vital capability for the Navy in the Indo-Pacific region," he added.

The Indian MoD accorded approval for the purchase of two dozen MH-60R helicopters in June last year and sent a formal request to the United States government to buy the helicopters; a deal potentially worth $2 billion (INR 143 billion) for Lockheed Martin- Sikorsky.

The contract is expected to have an offset requirement. India had plans to follow up with the “urgent” requirement of the helicopters with a long-term plan to manufacture 123 of the same aircraft in India.

MH-60R Seahawk missions are anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, surveillance, communications relay, combat search and rescue, naval gunfire support and logistics support.

The MH-60R airframe is based on that of the Sikorsky S-70B, a venerable but ageing naval helicopter. It comes with the latest generation cockpit and avionics, and changes to its tail-wheel to ease handling on a ship deck. The aircraft comes with a variety of sensors and weapons including the potent MK54 torpedo that can take out both ships and submarines.

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