India moves closer towards USD 300 million weapons deal with US for its Navy


India is moving towards clearing a proposal to buy American weapons including the Hellfire missiles and Mark 54 anti-submarine torpedoes for its MH-60 Romeo multirole helicopters.
24 of these choppers have been contracted for by the Indian Navy in a fast-track deal worth over USD 2 billion in 2020 and they have to be equipped with weapons for carrying out operations. The proposal for buying the weapons package for the MH-60 Romeo choppers is at an advanced stage in the Defence Ministry and negotiations are also going with the American administration for the USD 300 million deal to be concluded under the Foreign Military Sales route, defence officials told ANI here.
The Hellfire missile is a precision-guided missile and has been used by American forces against high-value targets including major Islamist terrorists like Al Jawahiri. The MK 54 lightweight torpedoes are used by US surface ships, fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, and are their primary anti-submarine warfare weapon.
It is already inducted into the Indian Navy’s P-8I anti-submarine warfare and surveillance planes.
India and the US had signed over-Rs 16,000 crore deal to buy 24 MH-60 Romeo helicopters from Lockheed Martin in 2020 under fast-track procedures on a government-to-government deal to hasten the process.
The 24 MH-60 Romeos would be equipped with multi-mode radars and night-vision devices as well as armed with missiles, torpedoes and other precision-guided weaponry.
The MH-60s are going to replace Sea King choppers which would be on their way out of the force very soon.
The MH-69 helicopters can operate from frigates, destroyers, cruisers and aircraft carriers.
The choppers are designed for an anti-submarine role as well as anti-ship tasks and conducting search-and-rescue operations at sea.