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India on Feb. 25 signed a deal with the U.S. worth more than $3 billion for the procurement of 24 Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk and six Boeing AH-64E Apache helicopters — to be operated by the Indian Navy and Army, respectively.
The deal was finalized during U.S. President Donald Trump’s first official visit to India this week. As outlined in a foreign policy document issued from the White House on Feb. 25, Trump said: “The relationship has never been better between India and the United States. And, as you know, we’re working on major trade deals and military purchase deals . . . very positive things.”
The signing of the deal for 24 Seahawk helicopters, worth $2.6 billion, and six Apache helicopters, worth $980 million, comes less than two years after the U.S. State Department approved the possible deal. India will buy the MH-60 Romeos through a U.S. foreign military sale and the Apaches through a direct commercial sale.
In two separate news releases issued by the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) regarding the proposed Seahawk and Apache sales, the proposed sales would “contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to strengthen the U.S.-Indian strategic relationship, and improve the security of a major defensive partner which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region.”
The delivery of the first six Seahawks to the Indian Navy is scheduled for early 2021, with the remaining 18 aircraft delivered in batches over two years. The aircraft will provide anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare capabilities to India, and may also perform secondary missions including vertical replenishment, search-and-rescue, and communications relay, according to the DSCA.
The deal for six AH-64E Apaches for the Indian Army includes a list of advanced military equipment to support the aircraft, including engines and missiles. The Apaches and equipment will strengthen India’s defensive capabilities and modernize the nation’s armed forces.