India To Buy Anti-Submarine Choppers ‘Romeo’

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New Delhi: India has sought from the US 24 multi-role MH-60 ‘Romeo’ anti-submarine helicopters for its Navy at an estimated cost of USD 2 billion, defence industry sources in Washington said on Friday.

India has been in need of these formidable anti-submarine hunter helicopters for more than a decade now. The deal is expected to be finalized in a few months, informed sources told PTI, days after US vice president Mike Pence held a successful meeting with prime minister Narendra Modi in Singapore on the sidelines of a regional summit.

India has sent a letter of request to the US for an “urgent requirement” of 24 multi-role helicopters – MH 60 Romeo Seahawk, sources said.

In recent months, there has been acceleration in defence ties between the two countries, with the Trump administration opening up America’s high-tech military hardware for India’s defence needs. Bilateral defence relationship was on top of the agenda of the Modi-Pence meeting in Singapore on Wednesday. The meeting is likely to be followed by a summit-level bilateral between prime minister Modi and US President Donald Trump in Argentina on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting on November 30 and December 1. Neither side has confirmed the meeting yet.

According to sources, the MH-60 Romeo deal is expected to have an offset requirement. Sources indicated that India plans to follow up this urgent requirement with a long-term plan to manufacture 123 of these helicopters in India.

Currently deployed with the US Navy as the primary anti-submarine warfare anti-surface weapon system for open ocean and littoral zones, Lockheed Martin’s MH-60R Seahawk helicopter is considered the world’s most advanced maritime helicopter.

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