New Delhi: A team of 18 Navy personnel have reached United States for training on the MH-60R multi-role helicopters.
“Three helicopters are scheduled to be delivered to the Navy next month which will be used for training in the US. The first batch is likely to arrive in India by June 2022,” a defence official said. Training of the first batch of aircrew and technical crew, will commence at Pensacola, Florida and San Diego, the official said.
The helicopters built by Lockheed Martin are being procured under the ‘Buy (Global)’ category of the procurement procedure through the Foreign Military Sales route of the US. The deliveries are expected to be completed by 2025.
“MH-60R international partnerships continue — Indian Navy students arrived at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola and North Island to commence training with two MH-60R helicopters while strengthening global partnerships,” the US Naval Air Systems Command said on twitter.
The MH-60Rs are a replacement for the Sea King 42/42A helicopters already decommissioned in the 1990s and are envisaged to operate from frontline ships and aircraft carriers providing them the critical attributes of flexibility of operation, enhanced surveillance and attacking capability.
The MH-60R 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 Indian Navy’s new submarine-hunting helicopters will come equipped with Telephonics APS-153(V) radar, which can classify detected moving ship targets. The radar can detect submarine periscopes above the water surface.
The MH-60Rs will also have the AN/AQS-22 Airborne Low Frequency Sonar system as its primary undersea ASW sensor, which its maker Raytheon says is capable of adapting its performance to varying environmental conditions.
MH-60R will be the third type of US-built helicopter to be inducted into the Indian armed forces. The Indian Air Force has already inducted 22 Apache attack helicopters and 15 Chinook heavy-lift helos. The Indian Army has also signed a deal for six Apache attack helicopters and this number is likely to go up in the future.