• Multi Role Helicopters (MRH) transferred formally from US Navy

By Team ADU

New Delhi. 17 July 2021. As the sun dawned in India on this morning, aviation enthusiasts, defence analysts and Indian armed forces woke up to good news – Indian Navy accepted the first two of its MH-60R Multi Role Helicopters (MRH) from US Navy in a ceremony held at NAS North Island, San Diego. It was the evening of 16th July for them.

The ceremony marked the formal transfer of these helicopters from US Navy to Indian Navy, which were accepted by His Excellency Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Indian Ambassador to USA. The ceremony also witnessed exchange of helicopter documents between Vice Adm Kenneth Whitesell, Commander Naval Air Forces, USN and Vice Adm Ravneet Singh, DCNS, IN.

William L. Blair, Vice President and Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin India stated,  “MH-60R is the most advanced maritime multi-mission helicopter in operation – deployed globally, and its mission performance by far, second to none. We appreciate the tremendous confidence placed in Team Seahawk by the Indian Navy through their selection of the Romeo. We stand committed to making this program a tremendous success in partnership with the United States Navy and the Indian Navy.”

MH-60R helicopters manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corporation, USA is an all-weather helicopter designed to support multiple missions with state of the art avionics/ sensors. Indian Navy is procuring 24 of these helicopters under Foreign Military Sales from the US Government. The helicopters would also be modified with several India Unique Equipment and weapons. In order to exploit these potent helicopters, the first batch of Indian crew are presently undergoing training in USA.The induction of these MRH would enhance Indian Navy’s three dimensional capabilities.

Hamid Salim, Vice President, Sikorsky Maritime & Mission Systems: “The delivery of the first two MH-60R Romeo helicopters to the Indian Navy marks the beginning of a new era of collaboration and partnership between the United States Navy, the Indian Navy and Sikorsky. We are committed to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the United States Navy to support the Indian Naval Forces in the future through capability upgrades and sustainment as the aircraft transitions to the Indian Navy.”

The MH-60R is known as “the world’s most advanced maritime helicopter.” And for good reason – there’s already more than 300 of them operating worldwide.What this really means? It’s better than any helicopter of its kind at:

•  Spotting underwater enemies
•  Detecting and engaging enemy threats
•  Sharing information with other assets to defeat the threat
•  Switching missions with ease
•  Living on ships and operating from shore
•  Multitasking
•  Lifting heavy cargo
•  Surviving the most extreme weather

As envisioned in the ‘Capability Based Perspective Plan’ 24 MH – 60R Multi Role Helicopters (MRH) are being procured under the ‘Buy (Global)’ Category through Foreign Military Sales the Contract for which was signed on 25 February 2020.

These helicopters are a replacement for the Sea King 42/ 42A helicopters already decommissioned in the 1990s and envisaged to operate from frontline ships and aircraft carriers providing them the critical attributes of flexibility of operation, enhanced surveillance and attacking capability. The delivery of the helicopters was planned commencing 2021 and comes at a time when the Indian Ocean Region is witnessing increasing security threat due to proliferation of submarines.

The helicopters can be effectively employed for offensive and defensive roles including Anti-Submarine Warfare, Anti-Ship Strike, Low Intensity Maritime Operations, Search and Rescue, over the horizon Network Centric Operations and Electronic Warfare.

The helicopter’s capability of prolonged maritime operations and seamless integration with the P8i and ships at sea makes it a ‘Force Multiplier’.

As part of Indian Navy’s commitment to the ‘Make in India’ initiative, the OEM M/s Lockheed Martin would also be discharging offsets through transfer of technology to Indian Offset Partners for manufacture of products and services. This would enable absorption of niche technology, skill development and manufacture of eligible products/ services leading to generation of employment, skilling of MSMEs and indigenous production of products for buy-back by the OEM.

The acquisition of MH-60R provides Indian Navy with a key capability and effectively contributes to the Make in India initiative.

MH-60R is the latest thread in the stories of Lockheed Martin and U.S.-India partnerships. It is the largest program for Lockheed Martin in India in support of United States Government foreign military sales. The MH-60R provides a vital capability for the Indian Navy in the Indo-Pacific region. The US Navy and its’ MH-60R international partners are committed to operating the MH-60R for the next 30 years. An MH-60R acquisition allows the Indian Navy to benefit from an active production line getting them this capability quickly, and the ongoing support the US OEM is providing for over 300 MH-60Rs flown by the U.S. Navy, the Royal Australian Navy, Royal Danish Navy, and the Royal Saudi Naval Forces. MH-60R acquisition ensures partner Navies are part of the technology insertion roadmap, including obsolescence mitigation, ensuring the Romeo stays relevant and ahead of the evolving threat environment.

Pics Courtesy : US Navy & Indian Navy