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India approves purchase of 24 MH-60R helicopters

Illustration; US Navy file photo of MH-60R helicopters

After previously failing to green-light the acquisition of S-70B Seahawk helicopters last year, India’s Cabinet Committee on Security has now approved the purchase of Sikorsky-built MH-60R naval multirole helicopters.

A total of 24 helicopters would come with a price tag of $2.1 billion, according to several media reports which confirmed the deal citing defense ministry officials.

The news of the aircraft buy comes days ahead of a planned visit by US president Donald Trump to India.

India’s request to buy the helicopters, which also included one MH-60B/R Excess Defense Article (EDA) helicopter from the US Navy, was approved by the US state department in April 2019.

MH-60Rs will replace India’s Westland Sea King and Kamov Ka-28 helicopters. The new helicopters will be armed with Hellfire missiles, Mark 54 torpedoes, precision-kill rockets and multi-mode radars.

Already in service with the navies of the United States, Australia and Denmark, MH-60Rs can perform search and rescue, troop transport, medical evacuation, ship-to-ship replenishment, and humanitarian relief operations, in addition to their primary mission of anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare.