News Brief

Indian Navy’s New Anti-Submarine Helos: Pilots To Soon Start Training In US; First MH-60Rs Will Be Delivered This Year

Swarajya Staff

Mar 09, 2021, 10:27 AM | Updated 10:24 AM IST

First look of the Indian Navy’s MH-60R.
First look of the Indian Navy’s MH-60R.
  • Delivery of MH-60R helicopters to the Indian Navy will start this year. Training of pilots and support staff is soon expected to begin in the US.
  • Indian Navy pilots and ground support teams will soon start training on MH-60R anti-submarine helicopters in the US, a report in the Financial Times says.

    The report states, quoting sources, that the maker of the helicopter, Lockheed Martin has sent a letter inviting the pilots and support staff for training before the delivery of the helicopters starts later this year. The training of pilots and support staff was delayed by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The government-to-government deal between India and the US for MH-60R helos was finalised during the visit of former US president Donald Trump to India in 2020. Under this deal, the Indian Navy will get 24 of these helicopters.

    The first three MH-60Rs are likely to be handed over to the Indian Embassy in the US between June and September this year. These helicopters will be used for the training of Indian Navy pilots and ground staff in the US.

    MH-60R helicopters will replace the obsolete Sea King anti-submarine helos.

    India had inducted the first Sea King helos in 1971. An improved version – Mk42B Sea King – was ordered in 1982, and 20 of these were inducted between 1988 and 1992. Only around 10 of these helicopters remain operational with the Indian Navy. This has lead to a shortage of dedicated anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability when the presence of Chinese submarines in the Indian Ocean is increasing.

    The MH-60Rs of the Indian Navy will be equipped with a Telephonics APS-153(V) radar, which, among other things, has high-resolution Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR) imaging option. According to the maker of the radar, Telephonics, it enables the helicopter to classify detected moving ship targets.

    As part of the deal, the Indian Navy’s MH-60Rs will also have Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) laser-guided rockets.

    APKWS enables the helicopter to hit enemy targets with improved accuracy and minimal collateral damage. BAE Systems, its maker, says the APKWS “redefines precision” and gives a “low-cost surgical strike capability”.

    Indian Navy’s MH-60Rs will also have AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles, the Kongsberg naval strike missile with proven sea-skimming capabilities for the anti-ship role and Raytheon MK54 torpedoes.

    The AN/AQS-22 Airborne Low Frequency Sonar system is the primary undersea ASW sensor of the MH-60R helos. Raytheon, its maker, claims that this is the only in-service dipping sonar with multi-frequency operation, which enables the platform to adapt its performance to varying environmental conditions.

    The rapid search rate and longer detection range of this system reduces the number of helicopters required to perform active ASW screening, experts say.

    Also Read: India-US MH-60 Helicopter Deal: Why This Is A Critical Purchase And What Capabilities It Brings For The Navy

    Get Swarajya in your inbox.