On Tuesday, the Indian Coast Guard said it had commissioned a squadron (its third) of made-in-India Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv Mark III at Porbandar in Gujarat. The helicopters were commissioned by ICG director-general VS Pathania.
Coast Guard officials told news agency ANI that the choppers could fulfill both reconnaissance, maritime search and rescue as well as offensive roles, as they have been equipped with 12.7 mm heavy machine guns that can hit targets at a range of 1,800 metres.
The induction boosts the Coast Guard's maritime surveillance and recon capabilities and the country's 'aatmanirbhar defence' philosophy as the ALH Dhruv Mark III is fully made-in-India by Bengaluru-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
ALH Dhruv Mark III
In March 2017, HAL received an order for 32 Dhruv for Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard.
Of the 32 helicopters to be built by HAL, 16 each would be shared by both the services.
The Rs 8,000-crore deal includes Performance-based Logistics (PBL) support for five years for 16 helicopters for the ICG.
The indigenously designed and developed ALH-DHRUV is a twin-engine, multi-role, multi-mission new generation helicopter.
These helicopters are fitted with modern surveillance radar and electro-optical equipment, which enable them to undertake the role of maritime reconnaissance in addition to providing long-range search and rescue, both by day and night.
In addition to special operations capabilities, ALH MK III is also fitted with a heavy machine gun to undertake constabulary missions.
A removable Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) is also fitted on ALH MK III Helicopters to airlift critically ill patients. The Helicopter also has a host of advanced avionics, making it truly an all-weather aircraft.