The US Navy has handed over the first two MH-60R Multi Role Helicopters (MRH) to the Indian Navy. The Indian Navy is procuring 24 of these helicopters manufactured by Lockheed Martin under foreign military sales from the US government at an estimated cost of USD2.4 billion.
A ceremony was held at the Naval Air Station North Island or NAS North Island, San Diego on Friday that marked the formal transfer of the helicopters from US Navy to the Indian Navy. It was attended by India’s Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu. The ceremony also witnessed the exchange of documents between Vice Adm Kenneth Whitesell, Commander Naval Air Forces, US Navy, and Vice Adm Ravneet Singh, DCNS. The senior leadership of the US Navy and Lockheed Martin Corporation were also present.
Sandhu said the induction of the all-weather multi-role helicopters is an important milestone in India-US bilateral defense ties. “India US friendship Touching the Skies!” he said in a tweet. He noted that the bilateral defence trade has expanded to over 20 billion dollars in the last couple of years.
Going beyond defence trade, India and the US are also working together on co-production and co-development of defense platforms, he said. Sandhu also highlighted reform measures that have been undertaken by India in the defense sector in recent times that have opened up new opportunities for foreign investors.
The MH-60R helicopter is an all-weather helicopter designed to support multiple missions with state-of-the-art avionics. The induction of these MRH would enhance Indian Navy’s three-dimensional capabilities. The helicopters would also be modified with several unique equipment and weapons. The first batch of the Indian crew is presently undergoing training in the US.