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Indian Navy commissions first MH-60R squadron

Three Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawks of the Indian Navy in operation in February 2024. (Indian Navy)

The Indian Navy has commissioned its first Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk multirole helicopter squadron.

According to the navy, the new unit, Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 334, was commissioned on 6 March at Indian Naval Station Garuda in the southwestern Indian city of Kochi.

In a video of the commissioning, the Indian Navy displayed four MH-60Rs (serial numbers IN751, IN752, IN753, and IN755). However, the unit likely had at least six MH-60Rs at the time of commissioning. Helicopter no. IN754 had been delivered to Indian Naval Station Garuda in July 2022, according to the Indian Navy, followed by helicopter no. IN756 in late 2022.

The Indian Navy said the helicopter will provide critical new capabilities in anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW), search-and-rescue (SAR), medical evacuation, and “vertical replenishment” roles. INAS 334 could function as an operational training unit for other MH-60R squadrons scheduled for commissioning in the future, Janes assesses.

Janes previously reported that the service had started training operations with at least three Seahawks at Indian Naval Station Garuda by November 2022. A further three Seahawks were formally handed over to officers of the Indian Navy in the US in 2021, and were used to train several batches of Indian Navy pilots at US Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, according to the Indian Navy.

The navy likely had six MH-60Rs in India by December 2023, Janes

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