Updated March 6th, 2024 at 16:49 IST

Indian Navy to Commission 1st Squadron of Anti-Submarine MH 60R Seahawk Helicopters: Key Takeaways

The helicopters are designed to perform various roles, including anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW), search and rescue (SAR), and more.

Reported by: Digital Desk
An Indian Navy MH-60R Seahawk helicopter on INS Vikrant's deck. | Image:Indian Navy

New Delhi: The Indian Navy is gearing up to welcome its newest MH 60R Seahawk helicopters at INS Garuda, Kochi, on March 6 (Wednesday). These helicopters, part of a 24-aircraft deal signed with the US government in February 2020, will form the INAS 334 squadron, an official statement said. 

The Ministry statement added, ”The Indian Navy is set to witness a significant surge in its maritime prowess with the induction of the Seahawks.”


Capabilities of the MH 60R Seahawk Helicopter

Indian Navy's Seahawks lineup
  • Multi-role Design: The Seahawks are designed to perform various roles, including anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW), search and rescue (SAR), medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), and vertical replenishment (VERTREP).
  • ‘Rigorous’ Testing: It has undergone extensive testing in Indian Reference Atmosphere (IRA) conditions to ensure its effectiveness in diverse operational environments.
  • Full Fleet Integration: According to Navy officials, the helicopter is fully integrated into the Indian Navy's fleet and, hence, is ready to support maritime operations effectively.
  • Advanced Technology:  Equipped with advanced weapons, sensors, and avionics, the Seahawk offers ‘enhanced capabilities’ tailored to meet the Indian Navy's maritime security requirements.
  • Versatility Against Threats: Its ‘advanced’ suite of equipment will, as per reports, make it capable enough to address both conventional and asymmetric threats. With such ability, the MH-60 R can help ensure comprehensive security coverage for maritime operations.

“The commissioning of the Seahawks underscores the Indian Navy’s steadfast dedication to fortifying maritime security, aligning seamlessly with the Government of India’s visionary goal of ensuring security and growth for all in the region,” the statement further added. With the addition of the helicopters, India will be able to grow its blue-water capabilities, which means that the MH 60R helicopter will make India's navy stronger in the open ocean and help the navy carry out  and sustain naval operations across the Indian Ocean region, thwart any potential threat, and overall ensure a 'secure and safe environment’ in this 'strategically crucial’ region.


Seahawks and Their Mission Effectiveness

  1. Advanced Sensors: The Seahawks are equipped with advanced digital sensors, including multi-mode radar, an electronic support measures system, an electro-optical and infrared camera, datalinks, aircraft survivability systems, dipping sonar, and sonobuoys. This entirety makes up for the MH-60 R’s sensor suit, thus enabling comprehensive situational awareness of the ocean surface and subsea domain.
  2. Integrated Mission System for Situational Awareness: The fully-integrated mission system processes sensor data to build a complete situational picture, allowing the crew to track, target, and engage ships or submarines ‘effectively and efficiently’, said Lockheed Martin .
  3. Weapons Capability: Weapons onboard include torpedoes, air-to-ground missiles and rockets, and crew served guns, which enable the helicopter to engage targets.
  4. Upgrades and Sustainment: Constant upgrades to aircraft and sensors, along with a best-in-class sustainment program, as per aerospace firm Lockheed Martin, help the seahawks  ensure ‘unparalleled’ mission capability, availability, and flight readiness.
  5. Performance Based Logistics: Lockheed Martin’s Performance Based Logistics program for the US saw 95 percent flight readiness and availability, from  Navy MH-60R helicopters, which is both necessary and essential for maintaining operational edge and effectiveness.
  6. Global Deployment: Operational with navies around the world, including the U.S. Navy, Royal Danish Navy, Royal Australian Navy, Royal Saudi Naval Forces, and the Indian Navy, showcasing its proven performance and multi-mission capability.
  7. Cost Efficiency: Further, as per Lockheed Martin, With a 95-98 percent availability rate and 5K US dollars per flight hour, the MH-60R Seahawk offers superior reliability and cost-effectiveness compared to other maritime helicopters in its class.

Published March 4th, 2024 at 08:59 IST