India will enter negotiations with Sikorsky for 16 S-70B Seahawk helicopters for the country’s long-running Multi-Role Helicopter (MRH) requirement.

“Negotiations will now begin to procure 16 S-70B Seahawk helicopters, with an option for eight additional aircraft, along with a complete logistics support and training programme,” says Sikorsky. The helicopters will be equipped for the anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare roles, serving both from warships and land bases.

In an interview with Flightglobal in November, the president of Sikorsky’s defence business, Sam Metha, said that the company's offer to India would be similar to the teaming model used in its sale of 109 S-70s to Turkey; in that India will have broad remit to integrate locally-developed systems aboard the helicopter. In regard to offsets it would offer related to the India programme, Mehta said the company is looking at supportability and follow-on support.

“We want to make sure there is organic support capability in India,” he said. “Logistics to and from India could be challenging, and maritime helicopters place a high emphasis on availability.”

Sikorksy’s main rival for the MRH requirement was the NH Industries NH90, but reports from India last month suggested that the latter was no longer in contention for the deal.

Mehta added that Sikorsky is also interested in New Delhi’s follow-on Naval Multi-Role Helicopter competition, for over 120 more maritime rotorcraft.