Now that the MRH is a done deal under which the Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk has been selected, rationally the focus therefore must shift on to the second most crucial project, the naval multi-role helicopters for IN for 123 machines to meet the pending and growing requirements of the Indian Navy.
The Indian Navy has selected Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. to fulfill the service’s multi-role helicopter requirement for antisubmarine and anti-surface warfare (ASW/ASuW), among other maritime roles. 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.
“India’s selection of the S-70B helicopter represents a major strategic win for Sikorsky in an important growth market, and positions us well for future opportunities,” said Mick Maurer, President of Sikorsky Aircraft. “We look forward to a long-term collaboration with the Indian Government and local industry as we work to bring the Indian Navy the highly advanced multi-role S-70B aircraft.”
The proposed Indian Navy S-70B variant will include avionics and flexible open architecture Weapons Management Systems that integrate advanced sonar, 360 degree search radar, modern air-to-surface missiles, and torpedoes for the ASW role. A blade and tail fold capability will facilitate shipboard storage. The S-70B aircraft will also enhance the Indian Navy’s capabilities to perform noncombat maritime roles, including search and rescue, utility and external cargo lift, surveillance and casualty evacuation.
Sikorsky has fielded increasingly more capable variants of the S-70B helicopter since 1984 for navies that prefer to acquire a modern, fully integrated ASW/ASuW platform direct from the manufacturer. Now operational in six countries (in Europe, Middle East, Asia and Latin America), the S-70B platform has a solid reputation for highly reliable shipboard operations and maintenance while operating aboard frigates and larger naval vessels. The S-70B aircraft is part of Sikorsky’s Seahawk helicopter family (including the SH-60 and MH-60 models) that has accumulated almost four million flight hours from more than 800 operational aircraft, and is considered one of the safest platforms available.