Indian Navy’s First MH-60R Maritime Helicopter Takes Flight Trials

Indian Navy

New Delhi: The flight trials of the first of the anti-submarine helicopter 24 MH-60R has begun and is expected to arrive by the end of July. India became the latest country to place an order for 24 MH-60Rs for Indian Navy in February 2020. It has to be noted that the weapons package for these helicopters is still being negotiated. The original “possible foreign military sale” announcement issued in April 2019 mentioned a price of an estimated cost of $2.6 billion. The Indian Navy MH-60R weapons package is expected to include Kongsberg’s Naval Strike Missile in its helicopter launched variant (known as NSM-HL).

In 2019, the U.S. State Department approved similar deals for the ROK Navy (South Korea) as well as for the Hellenic Navy. So far, the Romeo has been selected by the navies of the United States, Denmark, Australia and Saudi Arabia. The U..S Navy is the main operator of the MH-60R with 289 units in its fleet. It is the primary anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare helicopter in the fleet.

The MH-60R combines the features of the SH-60B and SH-60F aircraft. Its sensors package includes an MTS-FLIR, the AN/APS-147 multi-mode radar/IFF interrogator, an advanced airborne fleet data link, and a more advanced airborne active low frequency sonar (ALFS). Offensive capabilities are improved by the addition of new Mk-54 air-launched torpedoes and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles.

The first India production helicopter will undergo a series of flight trials before final acceptance. MH-60R choppers are meant to meet the immediate requirement of the Indian Navy for anti-submarine operations for which its currently relying on P-8I aircraft.