New Delhi: – MH-60R (Romeo) helicopters will soon join the Indian naval fleet. India and the United States signed a deal worth USD 905 million for the supply of these helicopters. These helicopters, very effective in anti-submarine warfare, will immensely increase the capabilities of the Indian Navy. It had become mandatory for the Indian Navy to acquire this capability in view of the increasing Chinese activities and also the rising presence of the Chinese submarines in the Indian Ocean. As per analysts, India has purchased these helicopters keeping in view the increasing Chinese activities in the Indian ocean.
More importantly, this deal is being conducted under the direct supervision of the US navy. It is reported that the US navy has instructed the Lockheed Martin company, the manufacturer of Romeo helicopters to expedite the deliveries process of the first three helicopters.
The United States sanctioned the sale of Romeo multipurpose helicopters to India in December. This entire transaction will be worth nearly USD 2.6 billion and a part of this whole deal, worth USD 905 million was signed by the two countries. The first announcement regarding the agreement was made in April last year. India will receive these helicopters equipped with Sensor and Communications system, Hellfire missiles, MK54 Torpedoes and precision strike rocket systems. But negotiations are still being held for the weapons and other systems to be installed on the helicopters.
Romeo helicopters are equipped with Naval Strike Missiles (NSM) system. With the NSM system, any warship can be targeted up to a distance of 185 kilometres. This can judge the capability of the helicopter. India had purchased Sea King helicopters from the United Kingdom in 1971. These Sea King helicopters are still in service in the Indian Navy. The MH-60R helicopters, being acquired from the United States, will replace these Sea King helicopters. The Indian navy pilots and technicians will be imparted training before induction of these helicopters. Three helicopters are being expeditiously delivered to India in the first phase for this purpose. These helicopters will join the Indian Naval fleet by the next year.