The United States handed over first two MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’ utility maritime helicopters to the Indian Navy on Saturday.
A ceremony to hand over the aircraft to the Navy was held at the Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego.
The two helicopters are part of a 24 chopper deal with Lockheed Martin under foreign military sales from the U.S. government at an estimated cost of $2.4 billion.
The deal was concluded in February 2020 during President Donald Trump’s visit to India. In May, Lockheed Martin was awarded $905 million to deliver 21 MH-60Rs to India. It also won $375.5 million the following month to design and develop unique hardware and software for Indian MH-60Rs.
In July, the company won an additional $18 million to modify three Lot 14 MH-60R helicopters to the initial India configuration.
The Indian Navy was to receive three new (undelivered) MH-60R helicopters formerly meant for the U.S. Navy by the end of 2020.
The first batch of the Indian crew is presently undergoing training in the U.S.
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.
The MH-60R is capable of being deployed 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).