The Indian and US governments were in such a hurry to get sub-hunting US helicopters into the hands of the Indian navy that the Americans gave up some of their own helicopters to fill a rushed delivery early next year.
“This really was one of the higher priorities the [Indian] navy had, to get these aircraft delivered,” Tom Kane, director of Sikorsky’s Naval Helicopter Programs told reporters this morning. “I requested that the aircraft be made available on an accelerated basis. So I think there is an urgent need.”
The urgency stems from the decade-long process India has undergone to replace its aging fleet of British-made naval helicopters, as Chinese navy ships, underwater drones and so-called maritime militia civilian-flagged fishing boats spread further into the Indian Ocean.