India is moving towards clearing a proposal to buy US made Hellfire missiles and Mark 54 anti-submarine torpedoes for its MH-60 Romeo multirole helicopters of Indian Navy.
24 MH-60 choppers had 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.
The Hellfire missile is a highly accurate air-to-ground missile that is primarily used by the United States armed forces. It is designed to be launched from helicopters, drones, and fixed-wing aircraft, and has a range of up to 8 kilometres. The missile is equipped with a guidance system that allows it to track and hit targets with incredible precision, making it an effective weapon against armoured vehicles, bunkers, and other fortified positions.
The Hellfire missile 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-60 choppers are designed for an anti-submarine role as well as anti-ship tasks and for conducting search and rescue operations at sea.