The United States Department of State on Tuesday approved the sale of 24 multi-role MH-60 Romeo Seahawk helicopters to India at a price of $2.4 billion (Rs 16,516 crore). The principal contractor will be Lockheed Martin Corp’s Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems, a statement by the Pentagon said, according to Reuters.

“The proposed sale will provide India the capability to perform anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare missions along with the ability to perform secondary missions including vertical replenishment, search and rescue, and communications relay,” the Pentagon said.

The Donald Trump administration notified the US Congress of the decision to sell India the helicopters, PTI reported. The State Department said the proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of America by strengthening the US-India strategic partnership. It added that India will use the helicopters as a deterrent for threats from its neighbours and for homeland security.

The helicopters, designed to operate from frigates, destroyers, cruisers and aircraft carriers, are currently the US Navy’s primary anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface weapon system for open ocean zones.

India has been in need of the Seahawk helicopters for over a decade, PTI reported last November.