The only defence deal which is expected to be finalised with the US during the forthcoming visit of the US President Donald Trump is the 24 MH-60R Seahawk maritime helicopters from the US-based Sikorsky-Lockheed Martin deal which is approximately worth $2.1 billion.
With China’s growing presence in the Indian Ocean, these helicopters will help in playing a very critical role in Indian Navy’s anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare operations
The Trump administration which considers India as a major partner gave its approval for selling these helicopters to the Indian Navy in May 2019. These fourth-generation MH-60Rs `Romeos’ helicopters will come to the Indian Navy loaded with sensors, torpedoes and missiles which can be used for anti-submarine warfare.
The helicopters will come through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route and is also expected to be having a 30 per cent offset clause as well.
Highly placed sources have confirmed the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) is likely to give its approval soon so that it can be announced during the visit.
The talks for these helicopters with the Indian side were spearheaded by Dr Vivek Lall, Vice President of Strategy and Business Development at Lockheed Martin and have played the most important role in the growing India-US bilateral defence trade.
From the time the deal is inked, within five years the 24 helicopters are expected to be delivered to replace the British Sea King helicopters.