US State Dept Approves Sale of 24 MH-60Rs to India

US Navy MH-60R Seahawk 168169 ‘NG-701’, assigned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 71 (HSM-71) prepares to land on the aircraft carrier USS John C Stennis (CVN 74) in the Arabian Sea on March 20, 2019. During the last week the US State Department has approved sale of 24 of the type to the Indian Navy. US Navy/Communication Specialist Seaman Jarrod A Schad

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.