India and the US finalized two defence deals worth USD 3 billion and signed three MoUs, including one in the energy sector, in New Delhi on Tuesday. In a joint press briefing with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Donald Trump confirmed that the deals had been finalised, adding that both countries were focusing on a comprehensive trade deal.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the defence cooperation between the two countries is reflective of the rising strategic partnership between India and the US.
The deals will involve the procurement of 24 MH-60 Romeo helicopters worth $2.6 billion to be inducted to the Indian Navy and 6 AH-64 E Apache helicopters worth $800 million to the Indian Army.
The deals will be signed under the US Foreign Military Sale Programme, entailing the long term manufacture of 123 multirole helicopters in India.
The AH-64 E which is also called the ‘flying tank’ is considered the most advanced combat helicopter in the world. These twin turboshaft attack helicopters are capable of detecting moving targets and engaging with them.
The real show stopper is the induction of 24 MH-60R helicopters that will be a major boost to the Indian Navy which is looking forward to replacing its ageing Westland Sea King fleet.
The MH-60R choppers, manufactured by the Lockheed Martin group, are used by the US Navy primarily for anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface operations for near-shore areas, combat search and rescue missions, and naval gunfire and logistics support.
These multirole choppers are equipped with Hellfire air-to-surface missiles and Mark 54 anti-submarine torpedoes which will help the Indian Navy ward off interferences in the ocean, hunt for enemy submarines and carry out precision surveillance.
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