The Indian Navy is set to boost its fleet with the addition of three 24 MH-60 “Romeo” multi-role helicopters in July. The United States is set to hand over the first set of multi-role helicopters to the force. According to reports, the first batch of Indian Pilots has also reached the US for receiving the training on helicopters.
Last year, India inked a deal worth over-Rs 16,000 crore to buy 24 MH-60 Romeo helicopters from Lockheed Martin. India signed the deal under fast track procedures on a government-to-government deal to hasten the process.
News agency ANI quoted Navy sources saying as, “The First batch of the Indian pilots has reached the US for training on the helicopters and we would be receiving three of these helicopters in the US in July. The training of the pilots would be first held in the American city of Pensacola in Florida after which they would move to San Diego in California.”
Equipped with multi-mode radars and night-vision devices, the 24 MH-60 Romeos would also be armed with Hellfire missiles, torpedoes and precision-guided weaponry. The aircraft is designed to operate from frigates, destroyers, cruisers, aircraft carrier, hunt submarines, knock out ships and conducting search-and-rescue operations at sea.
The choppers would replacing Sea Kings which would be on their way out of the force very soon.
India and the US are also working on finalising a deal for buying 30 Predator drones to enhance the strike capabilities of the three defence forces. Currently deployed with the US Navy as the primary anti-submarine warfare anti-surface weapon system for open ocean and littoral zones, the helicopters are considered the world’s most advanced maritime helicopter.
Last year in December, American defence major firm Lockheed Martin shared the first photo of first picture of the MH-60 Romeo multi-role helicopter for the Indian Navy in Indian colours.