The Indian Navy will receive its first batch of 3 MH-60R ‘SeaHawk’ naval utility helicopters from the US by mid-2021, according to reports.
India had in February last year inked a $2.6-billion deal with US defense and aerospace giant Lockheed Martin for two dozen MH-60R maritime utility helicopters.
The first three out of 24 MH-60R SeaHawks are expected to be delivered between June and September 2021, LiveMint reported.
Recently, the Indian Navy has also acquired P-8I Neptune maritime patrol aircraft and MQ-9B Guardian surveillance drones from the US.
The MH-60R SeaHawk is a twin-engine, multi-mission, all-weather naval utility helicopter, based on the Army’s UH-60 BlackHawk.
It is used for a variety of roles including anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASUW), naval special warfare (NSW) insertion, search and rescue (SAR), combat search and rescue (CSAR), vertical replenishment (VERTREP), and medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) operations.
This versatile helicopter can be deployed on any air-capable vessel, be it frigates, destroyers, aircraft carriers, cruisers, fast combat ships, amphibious assault ships, or the navy’s new littoral combat ships.
Claimed to be the world’s most advanced maritime helicopter, its avionics include dual controls. Instead of the complex array of dials and gauges in Bravo and Foxtrot aircraft, it has 4 fully integrated 8″ x 10″ night vision goggle-compatible and sunlight-readable color multi-function displays, all part of glass cockpit produced by Owego Helo Systems division of Lockheed Martin.
A #SeaHawk Helicopter MH-60R, assigned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM 37), conducts flight operations from the flight deck of USS Wayne E Meyer #DDG108. @PacificFleet #Desron15 #readiness #FreeandOpenIndoPacific pic.twitter.com/qz4DOSiOut
— U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (@INDOPACOM) December 24, 2019
Its onboard sensors include AN/AAR-47 Missile Approach Warning System by ATK, Raytheon AN/AAS-44 electro-optical system that integrates FLIR and laser rangefinder, AN/ALE-39 decoy dispenser and AN/ALQ-144 infrared jammer by BAE Systems, AN/ALQ-210 electronic support measures system by Lockheed Martin, AN/APS-147 multi-mode radar/IFF interrogator, which during a mid-life technology insertion project is subsequently replaced by AN/APS-153 Multi-Mode Radar with Automatic Radar Periscope Detection and Discrimination (ARPDD) capability.
Both radars were developed by Telephonics. The chopper has a more advanced AN/AQS-22 advanced airborne low-frequency sonar (ALFS) jointly developed by Raytheon & Thales, AN/ARC-210 voice radio by Rockwell Collins, an advanced airborne fleet data link AN/SRQ-4 Hawklink with radio terminal set AN/ARQ-59 radio terminal, both by L3Harris, and LN-100G dual-embedded global positioning system and inertial navigation system by Northrop Grumman Litton division.
The MH-60R does not carry the MAD (magnetic anomaly detector) suite.
The helicopter’s offensive capabilities are improved by the addition of new Mk-54 air-launched torpedoes and Hellfire missiles. All Helicopter Anti-Submarine Light (HSL) squadrons that receive the Romeo are redesignated Helicopter, Strike Maritime (HSM) squadrons in the US Navy.