MH-60 Helicopters Are The Next Target: India Eyes Mega Defence Deal With The United States

MH-60 Helicopters Are The Next Target: India Eyes Mega Defence Deal With The United StatesMH-60 R on a US Navy Ship (Photo Courtesy : Lockheed Martin)

The Indian government, in yet another mega defence deal, is seeking to buy 24 naval multi-role MH-60 ‘Romeo’ helicopters from the United States for Rs 13,500 crore, and has started the formal process for the deal, Economic Times has reported.

According to the report, a “letter of request” has been issued by the Indian government on Thursday (15 November) to the US government for these heavy-duty choppers which may be inducted into the Indian Navy in the 2020-24 time frame.

The Indian navy has identified new multi-role helicopters, acquisition of which was pending for a decade, as one of the top three “critical operational necessities” for it, the other two being submarines and minesweepers.

MH-60 helicopters are manufactured by Sikorsky-Lockheed Martin. The deal, likely to be inked within a year under the foreign military sales (FMS) programme of the US, will be a government-to-government one.

Under the FMS programme, a foreign country can buy US arms if the US President formally finds that doing so will strengthen the US security and promote world peace.

Most of the weapons from the US have been bought by India through the FMS programme as it is much faster and cleaner than the global tender process taking several years and is mostly derailed by corruption allegations.