Indian Coast Guard (ICG) on Wednesday inducted two Dhruv advanced light helicopters (ALH) Mark-III made by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). The choppers armed with modern avionics and systems enhancing capabilities will be based at 845 Squadron, Kochi.
These are 9th and 10th ALH in the series of 16 ALH which are being inducted in ICG. Equipped with surveillance radar, electro-optic pod, medical intensive care unit, high-intensity searchlight and machine gun, the helicopters can perform other key roles.
The indigenously designed and developed Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH-DHRUV) is a twin-engine, multi-role, multi-mission new generation helicopter in the 5.5-ton weight class. The major variants of Dhruv are classified as Dhruv Mk-I, Mk-II, Mk-III and Mk-IV and it has proven its mettle in various utility roles, including numerous lifesaving missions during natural calamities in India and as well as abroad.
In 2017, HAL bagged orders for 73 ALH from Army, Coast Guard and Navy for ALH Mk-III & Mk-IV variants.More than 335 ALHs have been produced to date, logging around 3,40,000 cumulative flying hours.
Dhruv has also been supplied to Nepal Army and Mauritius Police, Maldives. On January 28, ALH MK III was inducted at INS Utkrosh by Commander-in-Chief, Andaman and Nicobar Command Lieutenant General Ajai Singh at Port Blair.
The ALH MK III with its glass cockpit, Shakti engines, advanced Maritime Patrol Radar, Electro-optical payload and Night Vision Device will act as a force multiplier in keeping India’s far eastern seaboard and island territories safe. It is also equipped with modern surveillance radar that can detect and identify ships and boats up to a range of 120 nautical miles to enable the Indian Coast Guard in its duty to secure the nation from outside threats.
Last year in April, the ALH demonstrated deck operations in ship-borne trials off the Chennai coast in collaboration with the ICG. “The operational capabilities included landing on the dock, folding of blades and storing the helicopter in the onboard hangar,” the city-based defence behemoth said in a statement here.