Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 325, operating the indigenously built ALH MK III aircraft, was commissioned into the Indian Navy by Lieutenant General Ajai Singh, AVSM, Commander-in-Chief, Andaman & Nicobar at an impressive ceremony held at INS Utkrosh, Port Blair on 31 May 22. The newly inducted aircraft flew for the first time over the Andaman Islands earlier this year and were officially inducted on 28 Jan 22. The unit is the second ALH MK III Squadron commissioned into the Indian Navy.
Addressing the gathering, Lieutenant General Ajai Singh congratulated the INS Utkrosh on this momentous occasion. He emphasized the role of the Indian Armed forces during the recent national crisis and highlighted the yeomen service that the ALH has rendered in recent years including during relief operation in India and abroad.
He also commended efforts of the air station and added that it was truly an honour and privilege to witness the significant military milestone. The addition of ALH MK III into ANC would greatly augment the surveillance and long range SAR capabilities of ANC. This aircraft would not only strengthen military capabilities in the region but also be able to provide assistance to the local administration in any need of the hour.
The state-of-the-art multi role helicopter has been developed and manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL), Bangalore which embodies the mission of Aatmanirbhar Bharat and helps protect our maritime interests in the region to boost India’s strategic presence.
The Squadron derives its name from the nocturnal bird of prey, the ‘Eagle Owl’. The keen sense of observation and tracking of the eagle exemplifies the Sensors and advanced avionics of the helicopter akin the nocturnal prowess of the owl, personify the night vision capabilities of the aircraft.
These helicopters come with the latest-generation avionics and role equipment. They are primarily meant for use in long range SAR and Maritime recce role. They can also be used for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief in the Islands. The helicopter has a surveillance radar, EO/FLIR, homer, high-intensity searchlight and a removable Medical Intensive Care Unit for the Air Ambulance role. The commissioning of the ALH Squadron is a big step in enhancing capabilities to also support our Islanders and administration in remote areas of our large archipelago of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. This multi-utility aircraft will serve to majorly boost the military might of the Indian Armed Forces in this region.
The squadron is commanded by Cdr Avinash Kumar Sharma, who is a highly proficient and experienced pilot qualified on Chetak, UH-3H and ALH helicopters with more than 2300 hrs of flying and over 17 years of distinguished service.