The Indian Navy will receive three new (undelivered) MH-60R helicopters formerly meant for the US Navy by the end of this year.
“The US Navy has allowed us to leverage three helicopters from their inventory of brand new aircraft that have never been introduced into the fleet – in order to provide them to the Indian Navy so they can begin training on a more accelerated basis than might normally be possible,” Tom Kane, Director, Sikorsky Naval Helicopter Programs told Livefist today.
In August 2018, then Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had approved the contract for the choppers. The deal is being done under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route. A year later, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which administers the FMS program, announced that the State Department made a determination approving a possible FMS to India of 24 MH-60R Multi-Mission helicopters for an estimated cost of $2.6 billion (INR 18,608 crore).
The deal was concluded in February this year during President Donald Trump’s visit to India. In May, Lockheed Martin was awarded $905 million to deliver 21 MH-60Rs to India.
On the remaining 21 helicopters, Kane said, “We are now in production of these aircraft, and we’re excited to be able to deliver the first of these aircraft to the India customer in Spring 2021.”
Each helicopter will cost about $100-109million (around INR 760 crore) which includes accessories, spare parts, tech support and the cost of establishing maintenance facilities for the new type of helicopter.
Built by Lockheed Martin, this helicopter is a naval version of Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk and a member of the Sikorsky S-70 family. The most significant modifications are the folding main rotor and a hinged tail to reduce its footprint aboard ships.
Able to deploy aboard any air-capable frigate, destroyer, cruiser, fast combat support ship, amphibious assault ship, or aircraft carrier, the Seahawk can handle anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASUW), naval special warfare (NSW) insertion, search and rescue (SAR), combat search and rescue (CSAR), vertical replenishment (VERTREP), and medical evacuation (MEDEVAC).