India has sent an "urgent request" to the United States to buy 24 multi-role MH-60 'Romeo' anti-submarine helicopters for its Navy. The estimated cost for the submarine hunter is pegged at $2 billion.
Defence officials have been trying to negotiate a deal with its manufacturer, Lockheed Martin for a long time but the substantial delays have marred the submarine-hunting capabilities of Indian Navy and now the deal is likely to pick up pace after the latest development.
Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met US vice-president Mike Pence on the sidelines of a regional summit where bilateral defence relationship was the topmost agenda. Moreover, US President Donald Trump and PM Modi are also expected to meet in Argentina on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting on November 30 and December 1.
In the recent times, the defence ties between India and the United States has accelerated with Trump administrating offering India its state-of-art high-tech military hardware. In order to push the government's ambitious defence manufacturing project, "Make in India", the MH-60 Romeo deal is expected to have an offset requirement. The Indian Navy has been looking for an anti-submarine helicopter since 2008, in the same direction the government plans to manufacture 123 of these helicopters in India.
Currently, the MH-60R Seahawk is deployed with the US Navy for anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, surveillance, communications relay, combat search and rescue, naval gunfire support and logistics support missions. The helicopter is armed with torpedoes, Hellfire missiles, Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System rockets, and .50 caliber machine guns.
India and the United States have entered a new phase in defence and in recent times, India has ordered a series of defence products to secure its borders. Apparently, India has bought M-777 howitzer guns, Apache attack helicopters, and Chinook, utility helicopter from the United States.