The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has cleared the deal to acquire 24 MH-60R Multi-Role Helicopters (MRH) for the Indian Navy. The development comes before the much-anticipated visit of US President Donald Trump.
The MH-60R Seahawk helicopters are expected to deployed on India's warships in order to cut short lengthy negotiations between the firm and the Indian government. The deal is expected to be worth $2.4 Billion dollars.
Lockheed Martin has already sold C-130J Super Hercules, S-92 helicopters, MH-60 Romeo helicopters to India. The firm has a subsidiary in India as well, established in 2008.
In December 2019, the firm appointed William Blair as vice-president and chief executive for its India operations.
Earlier in February, the Defence Security Cooperation Agency stated that the US "State Department approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to India of an Integrated Air Defense Weapon System (IADWS) for an estimated cost of $1.867 billion."
It added, "This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to strengthen the U.S.-Indian strategic relationship and to improve the security of a major defensive partner, which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region."
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will be on a two-day visit to India on February 24 and 25. According to a statement released by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Trump is expected to attend an event at the Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad along the lines of the 'Howdy, Modi!' function that was held in Texas for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September last year. The stadium which is being built at a cost of Rs 800 crore, has the capacity to hold 1.25 lakh spectators.
President Trump is also expected to meet executives of Indian companies who have considerable business interests in the United States during his visit to the capital at the US embassy in New Delhi. The companies expected to attend the US Embassy talks include the ONGC, Reliance Industries, Tata Sons, Bharat Forge, Mahindra, and Mahindra. Trump's visit will conclude with an early banquet dinner, following which he will depart for Washington.
(Image credits: lockheedmartin.com)