MH-60 ‘Romeo’ Seahawk helicopters
GS 3: Internal Security
Why in News?
- The United States has approved the sale of 24 multi-role MH-60 ‘Romeo’ Seahawk helicopters to India at an estimated cost of 2.4 billion US dollars. The announcement was made by the US State Department on April 2, 2019.
- In its notification, the state department told the Congress that this proposed sale will support the US foreign policy by helping strengthen the US-Indian strategic relationship. The statement added that the sale of the helicopters will not alter the basic military balance in the region.
The sale is expected to improve the security of a major defensive partner which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region.
- The MH-60 Romeo Seahawk helicopter is considered to be the world’s most advanced maritime helicopter.
- Built by Lockheed Martin, the helicopters are designed to hunt down submarines, as well as knock out ships and conduct search-and-rescue operations at sea.
- India has been in need of these formidable anti-submarine hunter helicopters for more than a decade now. The advanced choppers would replenish India’s aging fleet of British-made Sea King helicopters.
- They will provide the Indian defence forces with 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 strengthen its homeland defense.
- The helicopters are the need of the hour for India, especially with the aggressive behaviour of China in the Indian Ocean region.
- The helicopters are currently deployed with the US Navy as the primary anti-submarine warfare anti-surface weapon system for open ocean and littoral zones.
- According to industry experts, it is the most capable naval helicopter available in recent times, which is designed to operate from frigates, destroyers, cruisers and aircraft carriers.