India’s anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities are set to receive a boost with the imminent entry into naval service of the Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk multi-role helicopter.

The rotorcraft will be commissioned on 6 March into Indian Naval Air Squadron 334, according to the defence ministry.

MH-60R India

Source: Indian Ministry of Defence

India intends to take a total of 24 MH-60Rs

In addition to ASW operations, the helicopters will also perform anti-surface warfare, search and rescue, medical evacuation, and vertical replenishment missions.

“The helicopter has been rigorously tested in Indian reference atmosphere conditions and is fully integrated into the fleet,” says the ministry.

“The advanced weapons, sensors and avionics suite make the Seahawks ideal for the Indian navy’s maritime security needs, offering enhanced capabilities for both conventional as well as asymmetric threats.”

Although the ministry does not specify the number of MH-60Rs to be commissioned, Indian media reports suggest that it is six. The helicopters will be based at INS Garuda, located in India’s southerwestern Kerala state.  

MH-60Rs India

Source: Indian Ministry of Defence

MH-60Rs started arriving in India in 2022

New Delhi started taking delivery of the MH-60R in 2021, with early aircraft serving to train Indian crews at NAS North Island in San Diego. The first examples arrived in the Indian subcontinent in mid-2022.

In 2020, New Delhi signed a letter of offer and acceptance for 24 MH-60Rs to be obtained through the US government’s Foreign Military Sales process. The Indian navy has said that the acquisition is valued in excess of INR140 billion ($1.7 billion), with all rotorcraft to be delivered by 2025.

Cirium fleets data indicates that the Indian navy’s other helicopter ASW assets include 19 Westland Sea King Mk42A/Bs, and 14 Kamov Ka-28s.