New Delhi, November 16: India on Thursday issued a ‘letter of request’ to the United States for procuring 24 naval multi-role MH-60 ‘Romeo’ helicopters. The entire deal will be of Rs Rs 13, 500 crore. These helicopters will be armed with torpedoes and missiles for robust anti-submarine warfare capabilities, reported The Times of India. The choppers will be inducted in the Indian Navy between 2020 -2024. The government to government deal to acquire MH-60 choppers is likely to be inked within a year. These helicopters are manufactured Sikorsky-Lockheed Martin, under the US foreign military sales programme.

Apart from these choppers, India has also purchased C-17 Globemaster-III strategic airlifters, C-130J “Super Hercules” planes and M-777 ultralight howitzers since 2007. After nine years of negotiations, the attempt to purchase these choppers was stalled in 2016 after discussions failed over a price difference with US manufacturer Sikorsky. The request for information (RFI) was also issued in August last year by the Navy to procure 123 naval multi-role helicopters (NMRH). However, nothing much progress has been made in this direction. The delay in acquiring 123 multi-role helicopters led to consider the US offer for a direct government sale of the Romeo. Tejas Networks Bags Order Of 1.1 Billion To Enhance Indian Navy's Communication Network

The Indian navy is likely to replace the Sea King fleet with MH-60 helicopters. The Navy presently operates 11 Kamov-28 and 17 Sea King ASW helicopters, but only four Kamove-28 and around five Sea King ASW are in flying condition. The MH-60 Seahawk helicopter is the world’s most advanced maritime helicopter. It is operational and deployed today with the U.S. Navy as the primary anti-submarine warfare anti-surface weapon system for Open Ocean and littoral zones.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Nov 16, 2018 11:08 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website