US STATE Department approval has been given for a possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to India of 24 Sikorsky MH-60R Multi-Mission helicopters, at an estimated cost of $2.6 billion. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced the approval on April 2 and delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on the same day. The DSCA states that they will be equipped with the following: 30 APS-153(V) Multi-Mode radars (24 installed, six spares); 60 T700-GE-401C engines (48 installed and 12 spares); 24 Airborne Low Frequency System (ALFS) (20 installed, four spares); 30 AN/AAS-44C(V) Multi-Spectral Targeting System (24 installed, six spares); 54 Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation Systems (EGI) with Selective Availability/Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) (48 installed, six spares); 1,000 AN/SSQ-36/53/62 sonobuoys; ten AGM-114 Hellfire missiles; five AGM-114 M36-E9 Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM); four AGM-114Q Hellfire training missiles; 38 Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System (APKWS) rockets; 30 Mk 54 torpedoes; 12 M-240D Crew Served guns; 12 GAU-21 Crew Served guns; two Naval Strike Missile Emulators; four Naval Strike Missile Captive Inert Training missiles; one MH-60B/R Excess Defense Article (EDA) USN legacy aircraft.
Also included are 70 AN/AVS-9 Night Vision Devices; 54 AN/ARC-210 RT-1990A(C) radios with COMSEC (48 installed, six spares); 30 AN/ARC-220 High Frequency radios (24 installed, six spares); 30 AN/APX-123 Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) transponders (24 installed, six spares); spare engine containers; facilities study, design, and construction; spare and repair parts; support and test equipment; communication equipment; ferry support; publications and technical documentation; personnel training and training equipment; US Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistical and programme support.
The DSCA notes that the proposed sale 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. India will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defence.
The helicopters are to meet a long-standing requirement to replace the Indian Navy’s elderly and long-serving fleet of Sea King Mk 42A/B/Cs. Originally, on December 4, 2014, the Sikorsky S-70B had been selected to meet the requirement, with plans at the time being to order 16 and take out options on a further eight through a direct commercial sale. Protracted negotiations led to the offer being withdrawn in June 2017 and a subsequent decision to instead acquire 24 MH-60Rs through the FMS route. On August 25, 2018, at a meeting of India’s Defence Acquisition Council, plans for the purchase were approved and a Letter of Request for the purchase was submitted to the US Government on November 15 last year.