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Indian Navy receives first two MH-60R multirole helos from US

The US Navy (USN) has handed over the first two of 24 MH-60R multirole naval helicopters on order for the Indian Navy (IN), according to a statement by the Indian government's Press Information Bureau (PIB).

The IN formally inducted the anti-surface- and anti-submarine-warfare-capable aircraft into service in a ceremony held on 16 July at the USN's Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego. India's Ambassador to the United States, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, USN Vice Admiral Kenneth Whitesell, the commander of Naval Air Forces, and IN Vice Admiral Ravneet Singh, the deputy chief of Naval Staff, were present at the handover ceremony, noted the PIB.

The announcement comes after the US Department of Defense (DoD) disclosed in July 2020 that Lockheed Martin had been awarded a USD18.1 million modification contract by US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) to configure three ‘Lot 14' MH-60Rs for the IN.

The service will use these first three rotorcraft, which include the two transferred on 16 July, for training in the United States, before delivery of the remaining 21 rotorcraft gets under way. The first group of Indian MH-60R crews is already in the US undergoing training.

In May 2020 the Pentagon announced that Lockheed Martin had secured a USD904.8 million contract for the supply of the 24 MH-60Rs to India under the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme, with work expected to be completed by September 2024.

However, IN sources have told Janes that the total estimated value of the MH-60R deal, which was approved by the US Congress in 2019 and India's Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on 19 February 2020, is USD2.6 billion.

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