The Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk “Romeo” multi-mission maritime helicopters, recently ordered by the Indian Navy, will be based on the existing Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF) MH-60R baseline.
According to a Combined Synopsis/Solicitation notice released on the Federal contracting website, beta.sam.gov, the U.S. Government will contract Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems (LM RMS) for the modification. Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defense contractor, is the parent company of Sikorsky.
“The Government is procuring the work required to be performed by Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems (LM RMS) located in Owego, NY to develop, integrate and install an India MH-60R System Configuration (SC) C18-03.x on Lot 14 USN [U.S. Navy] Government Furnished aircraft. This will include modification of an existing Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF) MH-60R SC18-03 baseline and will create an Initial India baseline”, the notice read.
Under the yet-to-be-awarded contract, Lockheed Martin is to load and verify the new India-specific baseline on Lot 14 U.S. Navy Government Furnished Equipment (GFE) aircraft and deliver these aircraft back to the U.S. Government.
According to the notice, this contract action is being awarded on a sole source basis to LM RMS, the prime contractor for the MH-60 aircraft, in accordance with the statutory authority permitting other than full and open competition under Title 10 U.S.C. 2304 (c)(1), as implemented by FAR Part 6.302-1, “Only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements.”
MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’
The Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk multi-mission helicopter was developed by Lockheed Martin-Sikorsky to replace the U.S. Navy’s Sikorsky SH-60B and SH-60F helicopter fleet and is designed to combine the features of both the helicopters.
The MH-60R Seahawk is also called ‘Romeo’ based on the military phonetic alphabet pronunciation of its variant letter.
The helicopter is capable of conducting a range of naval missions including anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW), search-and-rescue (SAR), naval gunfire support (NGFS), surveillance, communications relay, logistics support and personnel transfer and vertical replenishment (VERTREP).
The helicopter can be launched and recovered by any air-capable frigate, destroyer, cruiser, fast combat support ship, amphibious assault ship, or aircraft carrier operated by the U.S. Navy.
Indian MH-60R Procurement
India signed a contract with the U.S to procure 24 Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’ maritime multi-mission helicopters for the Indian Navy earlier this year.
The sale of the helicopters, through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, was approved by the U.S. State Department in April last year. The approval was based on the Letter of Request (LOR) issued by the Government of India to the U.S. Government in late 2018 following the procurement approval by India’s Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) in September that year.
The first six helicopters are expected to be delivered to the Indian Navy early next year. The helicopters will replace the Navy’s aging fleet of Sikorsky UH-3H Sea King and Westland Sea King Mk.42B (British license-built version of Sikorsky Sea King) helicopters.
The MH-60Rs will provide the Indian Navy the capability to perform ASuW and ASW missions along with the ability to perform secondary missions including VERTREP, SAR, and communications relay.
The helicopters will be embarked on the Navy’s frontline warships like aircraft carriers, destroyers, frigates and corvettes. Availability of the new helicopters would plug the existing capability gap as the majority of the service’s around 140 warships are operating without helicopters.
The procurement of just 24 helicopters is to satisfy the immediate requirement of the Navy. The Navy is also pursuing a larger buy of 123 helicopters through its Naval Multi-Role Helicopter (NMRH) program.