A US Navy Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk Helicopter

The multi-role MH-60 ‘Romeo’ Seahawk helicopters are advanced naval machines with sensors, missiles and torpedoes. India wants to buy 24 from the US

New Delhi: India wants to buy 24 multi-role MH-60 ‘Romeo’ anti-submarine helicopters from the United States at an estimated cost of $2 billion.

Quoting defence industry sources, a PTI report Saturday said the government-to-government deal is expected to be finalised in a few months.

This follows a letter from India to the US for an “urgent requirement” of the 24 helicopters for the Indian Navy. In August, the Defence Acquisition Council had approved the procurement of these helicopters, as well as 111 utility helicopters.

Here’s all you need to know about the ‘Romeo’ helicopters, and why India needs them:

What Are ‘Romeo’ Helicopters?

The MH-60 ‘Romeo’ Seahawk helicopters are advanced naval machines equipped with sophisticated combat systems – sensors, missiles and torpedoes – to track and hunt enemy boats.

According to Lockheed Martin, the top American manufacturer of the MH-60 choppers, they are deployed by the US Navy as its primary anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface weapons system for open ocean and littoral zones

Naval forces of many countries, including the Royal Australian Navy, also deploy these choppers.

For the Indian Navy, the choppers are set to employ Hellfire air-to-surface missiles and Mark 54 anti-submarine torpedoes.

The submarine hunters will have anti-surface warfare capabilities too, which means they will be capable of detecting surface threats and taking action against enemy ships.

The choppers are also capable of performing other non-combat maritime roles such as search and rescue, logistics support, personnel transport, medical evacuation and surveillance. They will be able to operate from frigates, destroyers, cruisers and aircraft carriers.