The Hindu Business Line

US clears sale of 24 Seahawk choppers to India for $2.6 billion

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The US has approved the sale of 24 multi-role MH-60 ‘Romeo’ Seahawk helicopter­s to India at an estimated cost of $2.6 billion, the State Department has said.

India has been in need of these formidable anti-submarine hunter helicopter­s for more than a decade now.

Designed for hunting submarines as well as knocking out ships and conducting search-and-rescue operations at sea, the Lockheed Martinbuil­t helicopter­s, will replenish India’s aging fleet of British-made Sea King helicopter­s. The Trump administra­tion on Tuesday notified the Congress that it has approved the sale of 24 MH-60R multi-mission helicopter­s, which will provide the Indian defence forces the capability to perform antisurfac­e and anti-submarine warfare missions.

In its notificati­on, the State Department told the Congress that this proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the US by helping to strengthen the US-Indian strategic relationsh­ip.

The sale will improve the security of a major defence partner which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region, it said.

“The proposed sale will provide India the capability to perform anti-surface and antisubmar­ine warfare missions along with the ability to perform secondary missions including vertical replenishm­ent, search and rescue, and communicat­ions relay,” said the Congressio­nal notificati­on. India will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense, the notificati­on said, adding that India will have no difficulty absorbing these helicopter­s into its armed forces. The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region, it said.

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