U.S. to Sell MH-60R ‘Romeo’ Multi-Mission Helicopters to India
MH-60R ‘Romeo’ Multi-Mission Helicopters’ will provide India the capability to perform anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare missions along with the ability to perform secondary missions, including vertical replenishment, search and rescue, and communications relay, as the sale of 24 helicopters worth a total of $2.6 billion to India has been approved by U.S Department of State under its Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme, as per a statement released on Tuesday 2 April 2019 by the Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the body that administers the FMS programme. India will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defence.
MH-60R has “situational awareness and actionable knowledge, enabling target engagement both close-in and over-the-horizon”, according to its manufacturer Lockheed Martin, the principal contractor to the above deal.
According to the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency, “This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the U.S. by helping to strengthen the U.S.-Indian strategic relationship and to improve the security of a major defensive partner which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region”.
- MH-60R helicopter’s maiden flight took place in July 2001
- MH-60R helicopter was introduced in 2005 with delivery of first new production in August and its operational evaluation (OPEVAL) completed in October 2005.
- MH-60R helicopter is equipped for a range of missions:
- Anti-submarine warfare (ASW),
- Anti-surface warfare (ASuW),
- Search-and-rescue (SAR),
- Naval gunfire support (NGFS),
- Communications relay,
- Logistics support and personnel transfer and
- Vertical replenishment (VERTREP).
- MH-60R helicopter is fitted with a 2721.55kg (6000lb) cargo hook for vertical replenishment missions.
- MH-60R helicopter operates from frigates, destroyers, cruisers, amphibious ships and aircraft carriers,
- MH-60R helicopter is suitable for intense littoral warfare operations for handling numerous contacts in confined spaces, and for open-water operations.
- MH-60R has dedicated operational software.
- MH-60R has advanced countermeasures and sensors technology
For anti-surface warfare missions, MH-60R helicopter can be equipped with a range of weapons on the four weapons stations, including Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire anti-surface missiles.
For anti-submarine warfare, MH-60R helicopter can carry up to three ATK mk50 or mk46 active / passive lightweight torpedoes. A pintle-mounted 7.62mm machine gun can be fitted for self-defence.
For anti-submarine warfare missions, MH-60R helicopter is equipped with a sonobuoy (a relatively small buoy expendable sonar system that is dropped/ejected from aircraft or ships conducting anti-submarine warfare or underwater acoustic research) launcher and a Raytheon AN / AQS-22 advanced airborne low-frequency (ALFS) dipping sonar.
MH-60R helicopter can climb at a rate of 8.38m/s. The maximum and cruise speed of the helicopter are 267km/h and 168km/h respectively, while the range is 834km. The service ceiling of the helicopter is 3438m. The helicopter weighs around 6895kg and has a maximum take-off weight of 10659kg