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.