Navy to raise first MH-60R Seahawk squadron in Kochi on March 6 | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Navy to raise first MH-60R Seahawk squadron in Kochi on March 6

ByRahul Singh
Mar 03, 2024 05:14 PM IST

The navy ordered 24 Lockheed Martin-Sikorsky MH-60R multi-role helicopters from the US four years ago to modernise its ageing helicopter fleet

The Indian Navy on Sunday announced that it will raise the first squadron of MH-60R Seahawk helicopters, imported from the US, at INS Garuda in Kochi on March 6, strengthening its anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and surveillance capabilities.

The advanced weapons, sensors and avionics suite make the Seahawks ideal for the Indian Navy’s maritime security needs.
The advanced weapons, sensors and avionics suite make the Seahawks ideal for the Indian Navy’s maritime security needs.

The first Seahawk squadron will be raised with the six helicopters that have been delivered to the navy, HT has learnt. The navy ordered 24 Lockheed Martin-Sikorsky MH-60R multi-role helicopters from the US four years ago to modernise its ageing helicopter fleet.

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All helicopters will be delivered by 2025.

“The Indian Navy is set to witness a significant surge in its maritime prowess with the induction of the Seahawks. The helicopter is designed for anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, search and rescue, medical evacuation and vertical replenishment,” navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said in a statement.

The helicopter has been rigorously tested in Indian conditions and is fully integrated into the naval fleet.

The advanced weapons, sensors and avionics suite make the Seahawks ideal for the Indian Navy’s maritime security needs, offering enhanced capabilities for tackling both conventional and asymmetric threats, Madhwal said.

The new squadron will be commissioned into the navy as INAS (Indian Naval Air Squadron) 334. The Seahawk is the maritime variant of the Black Hawk helicopter.

“The MH-60R helicopter will enhance India’s blue-water capabilities, extending the operational reach of the navy and supporting sustained naval operations across spectrums and over vast maritime domains. The Seahawk’s deployment in the Indian Ocean region will strengthen the Indian Navy’s maritime presence, dissuading potential threats and ensuring a secure and safe environment in this strategically crucial region,” he said.

The navy received its first two MH-60R choppers at Kochi two years ago. The helicopters are expected to be the mainstay of the navy’s anti-submarine warfare, anti-ship warfare and airborne early-warning capabilities in the coming decades.

Armed with AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, MK 54 torpedoes and advanced precision weapons, the twin-engine helicopters can operate from frigates, destroyers and aircraft carriers.

The navy first moved a case to buy multi-role helicopters, a critical operational necessity, around 18 years ago. The government-to-government contract for the MH-60R helicopters is worth around 17,500 crore.

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