- The United States has approved the sale of 24 multi-role MH-60R Seahawk maritime helicopters to India at an estimated cost of USD 2.6 billion.
- The Seahawks are multi-mission maritime helicopter developed by Lockheed Martin.These multi-role helicopters can perform a variety of functions including (a)anti-submarine warfare (b)anti-surface warfare, (c)surveillance (d)communications relay (e)combat search and rescue, (f)naval gunfire support and (g)logistics support.
- Further,these helicopters are designed to operate from frigates, destroyers,cruisers and aircraft carriers.These helicopters are expected to boost the Indian Navy’s anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare operations as China expands its presence in the Indian Ocean.
- Once inducted,the Seahawk helicopters will replace India’s ageing British-made Sea King fleet that has been in service since 1971. Currently,Seahawk helicopters are deployed with the US Navy as the primary anti-submarine warfare anti-surface weapon system for open ocean and littoral zones.
- According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s 2018 report,India is the second-largest importer of arms worldwide,just behind Saudi Arabia.Leading arms sellers to India include Russia,Israel and the US.
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