Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 325, operating the indigenously built Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) MK III aircraft, was commissioned into the Indian Navy by Lieutenant General Ajai Singh, Commander-in-Chief, Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) at a ceremony held at INS Utkrosh in Port Blair on Tuesday (31 May).
The newly inducted aircraft flew for the first time over the Andaman Islands earlier this year and were officially inducted on 28 January. 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 emphasised 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, the Defence Ministry said in a statement.
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, it said.
The state-of-the-art multi role helicopter has been developed and manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL), Bangalore.
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, the ministry said.
These helicopters come with the latest-generation avionics and role equipment and are primarily meant for use in long range search and rescue (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 the Islanders and administration in remote areas of the large archipelago of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The ministry said that the multi-utility aircraft will serve to majorly boost the military might of the Indian Armed Forces in this region.
The squadron is commanded by Commander Avinash Kumar Sharma, who is a highly proficient and experienced pilot qualified on Chetak, UH-3H and ALH helicopters with more than 2300 hours of flying and over 17 years of distinguished service.
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