Indian Navy welcomes MH-60R ‘Seahawks’ as INAS 334 Squadron gears up for commissioning

In a formal ceremony held at Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, on July 16, 2021, the Indian Navy officially accepted the first two MH-60R Multi Role Helicopters (MRH) from the US Navy. His Excellency Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Indian Ambassador to the USA, received the helicopters, marking a significant step in bolstering India’s defence capabilities.

During the ceremony, Vice Adm Kenneth Whitesell, Commander Naval Air Forces, US Navy, and Vice Adm Ravneet Singh, Deputy Chief of Naval Staff (DCNS), Indian Navy, exchanged documents signifying the formal transfer of the MH-60R helicopters, manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corporation, USA. These all-weather helicopters, equipped with state-of-the-art avionics and sensors, were procured under the Foreign Military Sales program from the US Government, with modifications to incorporate India’s Unique Equipment and weapons.

To harness the full potential of these helicopters, the initial batch of Indian crew underwent comprehensive training in the USA. The formal commissioning of the MH 60R Seahawk multi-role helicopters is scheduled for March 6, 2024, at INS Garuda, Kochi, under the designation INAS 334, a pivotal moment in India’s defence modernization journey.

The induction of the Seahawks enhances the Indian Navy’s three-dimensional capabilities, significantly boosting its maritime prowess. Designed for anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, search and rescue, medical evacuation, and vertical replenishment, these helicopters have undergone rigorous testing in Indian Reference Atmosphere conditions and are fully integrated into the Fleet.

The advanced weapons, sensors, and avionics suite of the Seahawk helicopters make them ideal for addressing conventional and asymmetric threats, supporting the Indian Navy’s maritime security needs. With a deployment planned in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), the Seahawk’s arrival strengthens the Indian Navy’s naval presence, acting as a deterrent against potential threats and ensuring a secure environment in this strategically crucial region.

The commissioning of the Seahawks aligns with the Indian Navy’s commitment to fortifying maritime security, in harmony with the Government of India’s overarching vision of ensuring Security And Growth for All in the Region.