The U.S. State Department has approved a possible sale of 24 Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’ naval multi-mission helicopters to India for an estimated cost of $2.6 billion, under its Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which oversees the FMS program, delivered the required certification notifying U.S. Congress of this possible sale on April 2.
The approval was based on the Letter of Request (LOR) issued by the Government of India to the U.S. Government late last year following the procurement approval by India’s Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) in September.
The sales package also includes:
+ 30 APS-153(V) Multi-Mode radars (24 installed, 6 spares);
+ 60 T700-GE-401C engines (48 installed and 12 spares);
+ 24 Airborne Low Frequency System (ALFS) (20 installed, 4 spares);
+ 30 AN/AAS-44C(V) Multi-Spectral Targeting System (24 installed, 6 spares);
+ 54 Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation Systems (EGI) with Selective Availability/Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) (48 installed, 6 spares);
+ 1,000 AN/SSQ-36/53/62 sonobuoys;
+ 10 AGM-114 Hellfire missiles;
+ five AGM-114 M36-E9 Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM);
+ four AGM-114Q Hellfire Training missiles;
+ 38 Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System (APKWS) rockets;
+ 30 MK 54 torpedoes;
+ 12 + M-240D Crew Served guns;
+ 12 GAU-21 Crew Served guns;
+ two Naval Strike Missile Emulators;
+ four Naval Strike Missile Captive Inert Training missiles;
+ one MH-60B/R Excess Defense Article (EDA) USN legacy aircraft;
+ 70 AN/AVS-9 Night Vision Devices;
+ 54 AN/ARC-210 RT-1990A(C) radios with COMSEC (48 installed, 6 spares);
+ 30 AN/ARC-220 High Frequency radios (24 installed, 6 spares);
+ 30 AN/APX-123 Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) transponders (24 installed, 6 spares)
Also included are spare engine containers; facilities study, design, and construction; spare and repair parts; support and test equipment; communication equipment; ferry support; publications and technical documentation; personnel training and training equipment; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support. The total estimated cost is $2.6 billion.
“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to strengthen the U.S.-Indian strategic relationship and to improve the security of a major defensive partner which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region”, said the DSCA statement.
The proposed sale will provide the Indian Navy the capability to perform anti-surface (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. India will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense, the DSCA statement added.
The principal contractor will be Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems, Owego, New York.
The Navy is expected to take delivery of the helicopters in 2020-2024 timeframe. The newly acquired helicopters will replace the Indian Navy’s ageing fleet of Sikorsky UH-3H Sea King and Westland Sea King Mk.42B (British licence-built version of Sikorsky Sea King) helicopters.
Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’
The Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk naval multi-mission helicopter was developed by Sikorsky, now part of Lockheed Martin, 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.