The Pentagon stated that India’s receipt of two MH60R Seahawk maritime helicopters and the US Navy’s 10th P8 Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft will enhance cooperation and interoperability between the two navies. The Indian Navy is purchasing a total of 24 MH60R multipurpose helicopters manufactured by Lockheed Martin in the United States for overseas military sales at an estimated cost of $ 2.4 billion.
A ceremony was held at Naval Air Station San Diego North Island or NAS North Island on Friday, marking the official transfer of the helicopter from the United States Navy to the Indian Navy. “The Ministry of Defense (Ministry of Defense) wishes to congratulate our Indian naval partners, who received the first two of the 24 MH60R Seahawk maritime helicopters from the United States Navy last week and their 10th Boeing P8 Boeing in Goa, India. . Winter sea surveillance aircraft, “Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters at a news conference on Monday.
“India is the first country outside the United States to use P8 for surveillance missions in the Indo-Pacific region. These capabilities will greatly enhance maritime security and strengthen cooperation and interoperability between our two navies,” he said. The MH60R helicopter is an all-weather maritime helicopter designed to support multiple missions through the most advanced avionics. The helicopter will also be modified with some unique equipment and weapons.
The first Indian crew is currently in training in the United States. William Blair, Vice President and CEO of Lockheed Martin India, said in a statement: “The MH60R is the most advanced multi-mission maritime helicopter deployed globally and its mission performance is second to none so far. confidence in the Seahawks in picking Romeo. “
“We are committed to working with the United States Navy and the Indian Navy to make this program a great success,” he said.
Hamid Salim, Vice President of Sikorsky Maritime and Mission Systems, said that the delivery of the first two MH60R Romeo helicopters to the Indian Navy ushered in a new era of cooperation and partnership between the United States Navy, the Navy of India and Sikorsky. He said: “We are committed to working closely with the United States Navy and, in the future, through capacity upgrades and maintenance, to support the Indian Navy as the aircraft transitions to the Indian Navy. “.
The Indian Cabinet has approved the purchase in February 2020, that is, at that time. US President Donald Trump visited the MH60R helicopter a few weeks earlier.