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Indian Navy to Enhances Anti-Submarine Warfare Capabilities Through MH-60R Helicopter Induction

Navy officials announced that Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is scheduled to commission the newly acquired MH-60R Seahawk multi-role helicopter at INS Garuda in Kochi on March 6.

Next week, the coast of Kochi is poised to witness a remarkable moment as the Indian Navy strengthens its airborne supremacy with the induction of the MH 60R helicopter into its fleet, thereby enhancing its Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) capabilities. According to Navy officials, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will commission the newly acquired MH 60R Seahawk multi-role helicopter at INS Garuda on March 6. The squadron, designated as INAS 334, will be under the command of Captain M Abhishek Ram.

The Indian government signed a deal with the United States in February 2020, to acquire 24 fourth-generation MH 60R helicopters. Six of them have been delivered to the Indian Navy so far.

Speaking to PTI, Ram said the induction of these helicopters into the Indian Navy will bring about a significant surge in its maritime prowess and capabilities.

Explaining the capabilities of the new helicopter, he highlighted its versatility beyond Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), including anti-surface warfare, day and night search and rescue operations, medical evacuation, vertical replenishment, and more. “With the MH 60R, we have addressed a significant gap in our anti-submarine warfare capability. The enhanced anti-submarine capability and operational endurance of the helicopter will revolutionize our surveillance techniques, providing us with a broader surveillance coverage,” Ram stated. He further noted that the newly commissioned helicopters have been seamlessly integrated with nearly all Indian Navy ships and are prepared for immediate operational deployments.

MH 60R Helicopters are ready to be inducted in the Indian Navy in INS Garud in Kochi on 6th March. (Image: Mint)

The MH 60R also boasts the capability to launch torpedoes, missiles, and advanced precision kill weapon system rockets. Lieutenant Commandant Aneesh Ayarotil, one of the trained pilots of the MH 60R, explained that its self-protection suite includes Chaff and Infrared Flares, which automatically deploy upon detecting threats.

This feature makes it the sole helicopter in the Indian Navy equipped with self-defence capability against incoming gunfire or missiles. Ayarotil further elaborated that flares counter heat-seeking missiles, while chaffs, containing radar-reflecting materials, confuse radar-homing missiles. Coming from a background as a Chetak pilot, Ayarotil praised the MH 60R for its advanced systems and pilot-friendly interface, mentioning the capability to engage autopilot for hovering, thus reducing pilot workload.

The initial training for pilots and observers, responsible for detection and weapon systems management along with tactical and navigational decisions, was conducted in the US. Ram noted that additional training took place at INS Garuda in Kochi, where a simulator is being established. He emphasized the realism of the training in Kochi, where exercises involve submarines, ships, and aircraft, providing practical experience compared to the predominantly simulator-based training in the US.

The new helicopter is well-suited for rescue operations, particularly in night missions, thanks to its night vision goggles and forward-looking infrared capabilities. Integration with the INS Vikrant marks a significant milestone for the Navy. Rigorous testing over the past eight to nine months has validated the performance of the advanced weapons, sensors, and avionics suite onboard. Additionally, the helicopter boasts advanced data link systems enabling real-time information exchange with both Indian and friendly foreign platforms, ensuring complete interoperability.

Currently, all six delivered Seahawks are in Kochi. It has also participated in the recently held multinational MILAN exercise on the eastern seaboard of India.

Also Read: https://khabarelahar.com/defence-minister-rajnath-inagurates-12th-edition-of-milan-2024/

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