Two days after signing a defence deal related to the acquisition of a multi-role naval chopper, the Indian Navy revealed details of the deal on Thursday including about the delivery of the choppers.
The Indian Navy said that MH-60R multi-role helicopters are a replacement for the Sea King 42/42A helicopters. The Lockheed Martin-built helicopters are envisaged to operate from frontline ships and aircraft carriers.
“The delivery of the helicopters is planned to commence in early 2021 and comes at a time when the Indian Ocean Region is witnessing increasing security threat due to proliferation of submarines", the Indian Navy said on Thursday, adding it will provide the force the critical attributes of flexibility of operation, enhanced surveillance, and attacking capability.
A senior official, while requesting anonymity, said that the Navy spotted four to six Chinese research vessels in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) in January alone. The Indian Navy openly admitted that at least six to eight warships, including Chinese submarines, are venturing into the region at any given point.
The Navy claimed that the anti-submarine warfare capable helicopters will play a crucial role in the Indian Ocean at a time when the presence of Chinese submarines has increased in the region.
“The helicopter’s capability of prolonged maritime operations and seamless integration with the P8i and ships at sea makes it a ‘Force Multiplier’", the Indian Navy added.
The deal, which had been pending since 2011, includes the transfer of technology by manufacturer Lockheed Martin that will enable absorption of niche technology and skill development.