US Navy hands over MH-60R maritime helicopters to India

The US Navy has handed over the first two MH-60R Multi Role Helicopters (MRH) to the Indian Navy to bolster its capabilities to ward off regional threats and to strengthen homeland defence. 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.

These two are the first in a line of orders that the Indian Navy placed with the United States navy. The choppers would be modified with many “India-unique” equipment and weapons, military officials with the matter told. 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 Indian Navy. It was attended by India’s Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu. Helicopter documents were also exchanged between officials of the United States Navy and the Indian Navy. “The ceremony marked the formal transfer of these helicopters from US navy to Indian Navy, which were accepted by His Excellency Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Indian Ambassador to the USA,” a spokesperson of the Indian Navy said. India will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defence. India will have no difficulty absorbing these helicopters into its armed forces, it had said in a communication to the Congress in April 2019.