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India looks to buy 24 US 'Romeo' anti-submarine helicopters for $2 billion

India has sent a letter of request to the US for an 'urgent requirement' of 24 multi-role helicopters MH 60 Romeo Seahawk

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

MH-60 'Romeo' anti-submarine helicopter
File photo of a MH-60 'Romeo' anti-submarine helicopter. Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

has sought from the US 24 multi-role MH-60 'Romeo' anti-submarine helicopters for its at an estimated cost of $2 billion, defence industry sources here said Friday.

has been in need of these formidable anti-submarine hunter helicopters for more than a decade now.

The deal is expected to be finalised in a few months, informed sources told PTI, days after US Vice held a successful meeting with Prime Minister in on the sidelines of a regional summit.

has sent a letter of request to the US for an "urgent requirement" of 24 multi-role helicopters MH 60 Romeo Seahawk, sources said.

In recent months, there has been an acceleration in defence ties between the two countries, with the opening up America's high-tech military hardware for India's defence needs.

Bilateral defence relationship was on top of the agenda of the Modi-Pence meeting in on Wednesday.

The meeting is likely to be followed by a summit-level bilateral between Prime Minister Modi and US in on the sidelines of the meeting on November 30 and December 1. Neither side has confirmed the meeting yet.

According to sources, the MH-60 Romeo deal is expected to have an offset requirement. Sources indicated that India plans to follow up this urgent requirement with a long-term plan to manufacture 123 of these helicopters in India.

Currently deployed with the US as the primary anti-submarine warfare anti-surface weapon system for open ocean and littoral zones, Lockheed Martin's MH-60R Seahawk is considered the world's most advanced maritime

According to industry experts, it is the most capable naval available today designed to operate from frigates, destroyers, cruisers and carriers. MH-60 Romeo Seahawks would add lethal capabilities of the Indian Navy, which experts say is the need of the hour given the aggressive behaviour of in the region.

Lockheed over the years has emerged as a major American supplier of state-of-the-art defence military equipment.

"With this Seahawk deal the overall US-India defense trade will surpass $20 billion," an industry source said.

"The pipeline of opportunities for US defense firms can result in another $5 billion of sales in the next few years," the source added.

According to US Naval Air System Command, the MH-60R Seahawk missions are anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, surveillance, communications relay, combat search and rescue, naval gunfire support and logistics support.

As the Navy's next generation submarine hunter and anti-surface warfare helicopter, the MH-60R Seahawk is considered to be the cornerstone of the Navy's Helicopter Concept of Operations.

The MH-60R and its mission systems have replaced the US naval fleet's legacy SH-60B and SH-60F

First Published: Sat, November 17 2018. 11:20 IST