MH-60R Multi-Mission Helicopters | 04 Apr 2019
The United States Department of State has approved the sale of 24 MH-60R ‘Seahawk’ multi-mission helicopters to India under its Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program.
- These helicopters are considered to be the world's most advanced maritime helicopter.
- The proposed sale will provide India the capability to perform anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare missions.
- It will also enhance the Navy’s ability to perform secondary missions, including search and rescue, and communications relay.
India-U.S. Defence Relations
- Since 2008, Indo-U.S. defense trade has steadily increased from under the U.S.$ 1 billion to over the U.S.$ 18 billion.
- The United States has assumed the spot of India’s second largest arms supplier, after Russia.
- Crucial intended or completed procurements by India from the U.S. includes 13 C-130 Hercules aircraft, 10 C-17 Globemaster aircraft, 12 P-8 Poseidon aircraft, 22 AH-64 Apache helicopters, 15 CH-47 Chinook helicopters, and 145 M777 Howitzer guns.
- India was granted the unique Major Defence Partner (MDP) designation in 2016 by the United States.
- India was then given Strategic Trade Authorisation-1 (STA-1) status by the U.S. in 2018. The third Asian country after South Korea and Japan (and 37th country globally) to acquire it.
- This was to further facilitate the transfer of technology in the defense and space sectors.
- India also signed the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) agreement with the U.S., providing a legal basis for the U.S. to transfer secure communication equipment to India, increasing military equipment interoperability and real-time data sharing.
- India will use the enhanced capability as a net security provider in the Indian Ocean region, deterrent to regional threats like piracy and drug trafficking and strengthen its homeland defense.
- India has a responsibility to ensure freedom of movement throughout the Indian Ocean, stretching from the Strait of Hormuz to the Strait of Malacca.