India receives first 2 MH-60R Seahawk naval helicopters, 10th P-8I Neptune maritime patrol aircraft


One of the Indian Navy's first MH-60R Seahawk naval helicopter. Photo c/o Lockheed Martin through Swarajya.

The US Department of Defense (DOD) has confirmed that the Indian Navy has received its first two Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk multirole maritime combat helicopters from the US Navy, and its 10th P-8I Neptune maritime patrol aircraft.

The ceremony was held for the formal handover of the two MH-60R helicopters on 16 July 2021 at Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego.

Indian Ambassador to the US H.E. Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Indian Navy Deputy Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Ravneet Singh, US Navy Commander Naval Air Force Vice Admiral Kenneth Whitesell, and senior leadership of Lockheed Martin were present during the ceremony and handover of documents.

The Indian Navy will receive a total of 24 MH-60R Seahawk naval helicopters from Sikorsky, which were ordered on February 2020 under a US Foreign Military Sales program worth around US$2.4 billion.

These helicopters are capable of anti submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW), and can be armed with torpedoes and anti-ship missiles in support of naval operations. 

The Indian Navy intends to deploy these new helicopters on their latest destroyers and frigates, and with their new aircraft carrier.

Presently, the first batch of Indian Navy air and ground crew are undergoing training in the US.

In addition, the Indian Navy also received its 10th P-8I Neptune maritime patrol aircraft, which was delivered by American aviation company Boeing to the Indian Navy's base in Goa, India.

The aircraft is the second unit delivered under a contract for 4 additional aircraft signed by the Indian Ministry of Defence in 2016.

The P-8I Neptune is the Indian Navy's variant of the US-made P-8 Poseidon, incorporating Indian Navy-specific equipment including local content.

India is one of the first countries outside the US to operate the P-8 Poseidon in the Indo-Pacific region, with the type introduced to the Indian Navy in 2013.

So far, the Indian Navy has surpassed 30,000 flight hours from its P-8I Neptune fleet, which are used for maritime reconnaissance, anti-submarine warfare missions, as well as disaster relief and humanitarian missions.

Boeing is also building a new Training Support & Data Handling Centre at INS Rajali in Arakkonam, Tamil Nadu, as well as a secondary training center at the Naval Institute of Aeronautical Technology in Kochi, Kerala, under a training and support package contract signed with the Indian Government in 2019.

These ground-based facilities and training package will allow the Indian Navy to increase mission proficiency in a short time, reducing on-aircraft training time for increased aircraft availability.

[1] Naval News
[2] Business Standard India
[3] Naval Today

India receives first 2 MH-60R Seahawk naval helicopters, 10th P-8I Neptune maritime patrol aircraft India receives first 2 MH-60R Seahawk naval helicopters, 10th P-8I Neptune maritime patrol aircraft Reviewed by Asia Pacific Defense Journal on July 26, 2021 Rating: 5

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