India Signs deals with US for 24 Sikorsky MH-60R and 6 Boeing AH-64E Helicopters

India has signed a $930 million contract with the U.S. to procure six Boeing AH-64E Apache “Guardian” attack helicopters for the Indian Army and another contract to procure 24 Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk helicopters destined to the Indian Navy. Both deals were signed on February 25 2020, on the sidelines of U.S. President Donald Trump’s ongoing visit to India.

India Signs deals with US for 24 Sikorsky MH 60R and 6 Boeing AH 64E Helicopters 925 001 Indian Air Force AH-64E Apache attack helicopter (Picture source: Boeing)

The first Apache helicopters are expected to join the Indian Army in 2023 and will become the service’s first dedicated attack helicopters. India already has AH-64E Apache and Russian Mi-24 combat helicopters in its inventory but both rotorcraft are operated by the Air Force. Even though attack helicopters were on the Army’s wish list for many years, IAF objected to the plan.

The FMS contract for the Apache includes munitions, training, aircraft certification, and components including engines, EO sensors and the radar. The direct commercial sale portion of the contract primarily consists of the aircraft (fewer engines/sensors), logistic support, spares and services.

Boeing has also concluded deliveries of 11 C-17s to the air force and eight P-8Is for the Navy. Four additional P-8Is were contracted in July 2016, with deliveries to start in mid-2020.

India Signs deals with US for 24 Sikorsky MH 60R and 6 Boeing AH 64E Helicopters 925 002 Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk multi-mission helicopter of the U.S. Navy (Picture source: Lockheed Martin)

The sale of 24 MH-60R helicopters to India, through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, will replace the Indian Navy’s ageing fleet of Sikorsky UH-3H Sea King and Westland Sea King Mk.42B helicopters.

The helicopters will become an integral part of the Indian Navy’s frontline warships like the aircraft carriers, destroyers, frigates and corvettes.

The MH-60Rs will provide the Indian Navy with the capability to perform anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare missions along with the ability to perform secondary missions including vertical replenishment, search and rescue, and communications relay.