The Indian Coast Guard today got a shot in the arm for strengthening the country’s coastal security and surveillance.
Context: Indian Coast Guard chief V S Pathania commissioned the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) squadron (CG)-835 at Porbandar in Gujarat today (28 June).
The squadron comprises helicopters made in India by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
The helicopters are ALH Dhruv Mark 3 (Mk III) choppers.
The HAL is under contract to deliver 16 ALH Mk III.
ALH Dhruv chopper: The indigenously designed and developed is a twin-engine, multi-role, multi-mission, new-generation helicopter in the 5.5-tonne weight class.
Dhruv is “type-Certified” for military operations by the Centre for Military Airworthiness Certification and civil operations by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
Certification of the utility military variant was completed in 2002 and that of the civil variant was completed in 2004.
The major variants of Dhruv are classified as Dhruv Mk I, Mk II, Mk III, and Mk IV.
The HAL conceptualised the ALH programme in 1984.
The ALH Mk III is equipped with the Shakti engine, electronic warfare suite, electro-optical pod, infrared suppressor, solid state digital video recorder, and engine particle separator.
The features enable the helicopter to carry out maritime reconnaissance and search and rescue at extended ranges even while operating from ships, whether it's day or night.
The chopper is armed with a 12.7 mm Heavy Machine Gun that can effectively strike targets at over 1,800 m.
It can go from being an offensive platform to one providing necessary medical assistance to critically ill patients.
Thirteen ALH MK III helicopters have been inducted in the Indian Coast Guard in a phased manner, and four of these are at Porbandar.
The indigenous effort by HAL of designing and manufacturing these helicopters “has been strengthening the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Aatmanirbhar’ initiatives,” Director General Virender Singh Pathania PTM TM during commissioning today.
"The commissioning of this squadron marks a tremendous leap towards self-reliance in the field of Search and Rescue (SAR) and maritime surveillance," the Ministry of Defence said.
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