ICG chief flies Dhruv Mk III chopper, lands on warship in Arabian Sea

Indian Coast Guard director-general VS Pathania on Tuesday flew the recently-commissioned Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv Mk3 helicopter and landed it on a ship located in the Arabian Sea. These helicopters will ‘enhance the range and capability of the ship’, he said.

“It is a made-in-India helicopter that has strengthened our reach and capability. These helicopters are force multipliers when they mark on ships, they enhance the range and capability of the ship multifold because of their speed and endurance,” Pathania explained to news agency ANI.

On Tuesday, he commissioned a squadron (the third) of the made-in-India Dhruv Mk III choppers at Porbandar in Gujarat in a bid to strengthen the Coast Guard’s operations in the northwest.

According to officials, the choppers can fulfil both reconnaissance and offensive roles as they have 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, officials said yesterday.

The ALH Dhruv Mk III is an ‘indigenously designed and developed, twin-engine, multi-role, multi-mission new generation helicopter’ made by Bengaluru-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and boosts the Indian government’s ‘Aatmnirbhar defence’ philosophy.

Designed for utility roles in the defence services, one version comes with an electronic warfare suite and a countermeasure system, among other features.

It also has weapon systems and mission sensors that include a turret gun, air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, a helmet-pointing system, an infra-red jammer and an obstacle avoidance system.

It also comes with powerful ‘Shakti’ engines, a full-glass cockpit and high-intensity searchlights to aid in search-and-rescue ops at sea, as well as a removable medical intensive care unit (MICU) to facilitate critically ill patients for medical evacuation, or med-evac

According to HAL, so far, 13 ALH Mk III choppers have been inducted into the Coast Guard in a phased manner; four of these will be stationed in Porbandar.

In May the ICG had commissioned its second ALH Dhruv Mk III squadron in Kerala.

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