Indian Coast Guard (ICG) on Saturday (12 June) inducted Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) Mk-III. In line with Atma Nirbhar Bharat vision, the state-of-the-art helicopters are indigenously designed and manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bengaluru.
At the event, Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar brought out the importance of having these advanced helicopters for ICG to operate them across the spectrum of Coast Guard operations.
The ALH Mk-III marine version has been designed and developed with the in-house customisation of 19 additional equipment by HAL to meet ICG requirements. The HAL will supply 16 ALH Mk-III to the ICG by mid next year.
The helicopters can undertake operations from ships which will enhance Coast Guard capabilities towards sea-air coordinated search, interdiction capabilities, coastal security, search and rescue operations, medical evacuation, humanitarian missions, pollution response missions, etc.
While appreciating ICG for the recently conducted successful operations of drugs and arms seizure and saving lives during cyclones Tauktae and Yaas, Defence Secretary said the capacity and capability augmentation of the service must be materialised in a time-bound manner considering the onerous responsibilities bestowed on ICG by the Government.
On induction, the 16 ALH Mk-III will be positioned at four Coast Guard squadrons at Bhubaneshwar, Porbandar, Kochi and Chennai. The shared maritime boundaries with littoral states are highly susceptible to illegal activities, and the regions are prone to frequent cyclones. These squadrons with embarked operations will ensure seamless surveillance and assist fishermen in distress at sea.
Director-General Coast Guard K Natarajan said that induction of ALH Mk-III would usher a new paradigm shift in ICG capability to undertake shipborne operations and enhance surveillance prowess with extended reach. He also brought out that these helicopters will be deployed in a coordinated matrix with ships and aircraft to strengthen the service capabilities in the Area of Responsibility and beyond.
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