Lockheed Martin shared the first look of Indian Navy’s new MH-60R Seahawk “Romeo” multi-mission maritime helicopter on Navy Day (Dec. 4).
The photo of the helicopter, with Indian Navy livery and registration IN751, was shared by the company on Twitter.
— Lockheed Martin India (@LMIndiaNews) December 4, 2020
Lockheed Martin was recently awarded a $905 million contract to deliver 24 Sikorsky MH-60Rs to the Indian Navy. The contract, being executed under the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, was awarded by the U.S. Navy’s Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR).
Indian MH-60R Procurement
In February 2020, India signed a contract with the U.S. government to procure 24 Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’ maritime multi-mission helicopters for the Indian Navy. The deal was signed on Feb. 25 on the sidelines of U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to India.
The sale of the helicopters, through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, was approved by the U.S. State Department in April, 2019. 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.
Indian Navy’s MH-60R helicopters will be based on the existing Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF) MH-60R baseline with some modifications. 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 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 MH-60Rs will provide the Indian Navy the capability to perform anti-surface warfare (ASuW) and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) missions along with the ability to perform secondary missions including vertical replenishment (VERTREP), search-and-rescue (SAR), and communications relay.
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.
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.