Nearly two months after the induction of two advanced light helicopter (ALH) Mark III into the 845 Squadron (CG) under the administrative and operational control of Indian Coast Guard Air Enclave, Kochi, two more of the same helicopters reached Kochi on Thursday 31 Mar giving a major boost to the aviation arm of CG and maritime security in Kerala.
The helicopters commonly known as Dhruv
The helicopters, which were indigenously designed and manufactured by Bengaluru-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and commonly known as Dhruv, were formally welcomed at Indian Coast Guard Air Enclave, at Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) with a traditional water cannon salute. Both aircraft will be inducted into 845 Squadron (CG).
ALH MKIII is considered one of the main projects under AtmaNirbhar Bharat initiatives
ALH MKIII is considered one of the main projects under AtmaNirbhar Bharat initiatives in the aerospace sector. It can perform diversified roles that include maritime surveillance, search and rescue, medical evacuation and logistics support to ships. The induction marks a boost to coastal security management by the Coast Guard along the coast of Kerala, Karnataka and around Lakshadweep.
Amongst its variants, the MK III variant is a maritime role variant encompassing state-of-the-art sensors and weapons that add punch to coast guard’s prowess at sea. ALH MK III helicopters feature an array of systems previously seen only on heavier, multi-role helicopters. 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 assistance, both by day and night.
Additions to ALH MK III
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. It also has a high-intensity searchlight and an infrared suppressor. The helicopter, which is powered by two Shakti engines, also has a host of advanced avionics, making it truly an all-weather aircraft.