The Indian Navy received two MH-60R multi-role helicopters at Kochi.
A Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LoA) for procurement of 24 MH 60R multi-role helicopters was concluded with the US Government in Feb 2020 at a cost of more than Rs 14000 Crores.
In 2019, The United States Department of State had approved the sale of 24 MH-60R multi-mission helicopters to India under its Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. The MH-60R helicopters is designed and built by Lockheed Martin-Sikorsky.
It will boost the Indian Navy’s capability to conduct a range of operations in all weather conditions in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
The first three MH 60Rs delivered in US in 2021 are being utilised for training the crew. The next three MH 60R helicopters are being delivered at Kochi, two helicopters of which were received by the Indian Navy at Cochin International Airport on 28 Jul 22 and the third helicopter is scheduled to be delivered in Aug 22.
The delivery of all 24 MH 60R helicopters will be completed by 2025. The induction of state of the art mission capable platforms will significantly boost the integral ASW capability of the Indian Navy.
This is an important development as the Navy is facing an acute shortage of helicopters on its frontline warships. A tender for 111 Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH) under the Strategic Partnership route of procurement procedure, is likely to be scrapped. The focus is on the indigenous effort and build upon the existing know-how. The Ministry of Defence has already outlined the direction in this regard which is to support domestic defence industry and procure military utility and combat helicopters from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
The MH-60Rs are a replacement of the Sea King 42/42A helicopters. The induction of MH-60Rs will significantly boost the integral Anti-submarine warfare capability of the Indian Navy.
The MH–60R helicopter is one of the world’s most advanced maritime helicopters. It is designed to operate from frigates, destroyers, cruisers and aircraft carriers.
According to the Indian Navy, the MH-60R multi-role helicopters can perform several missions, including anti-ship strikes, anti-submarine warfare (ASW), specialised maritime operations and search and rescue operations.
MH-60R is loaded with Advanced Common Cockpit avionics suite which enables the aircrew to perform diverse missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, Combat Search and Rescue, Vertical Replenishment, and Airborne Mine Countermeasures.
The Common Cockpit avionics suite is based on open architecture and commercial-off-the-shelf technology, which is embedded with digital communications suite. It is equipped with integrated Global Positioning System and Inertial Navigation System.
MH-60R helicopter is powered by two General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshaft engines rated at 1,425kW. It has a maximum and cruise speed of 267 km/h and 168 km/h respectively, with a maximum flying range of 834 km. It weighs around 6,895 kg and has a maximum take-off weight of 10,659 kg.