‘Aatmanirbhar defence’ expands as Indian Coast Guard commissions Made-in-India ALH Dhruv Mark III helicopters

Source : Hindustan Times

‘Aatmanirbhar defence’ expands as Coast Guard commissions made-in-India ALH Dhruv Mark III helicopters
The Indian Coast Guard commissioned Advanced Light Helicopter Squadron (CG)-835 at Porbandar, on Tuesday, June 28 (Twitter/@IndiaCoastGuard)

The Indian Coast Guard on Tuesday 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, news ageancy ANI said.

Coast Guard officials told ANI the choppers could fulfill both reconnaissance and offensive roles as they have heavy machine guns. 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).

In May the Coast Guard commissioned its second ALH Dhruv Mark III squadron – in Kerala. Four of these helicopters have been stationed in Kochi in the southern state, news agency PTI said, adding the coasts of Karnataka and Kerala , and the Lakshadweep islands, would now be covered.

According to a note on HAL’s website, the ALH Dhruv is an ‘indigenously designed and developed… twin engine, multi-role, multi-mission new generation helicopter’.

The Mark III designed for ‘utility roles in defence services suited for high-altitude operations’ comes with an electronic warfare suite and counter-measure system, among other features.

The ‘armed variant for attack, close-air support and high altitude operations’ comes with 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, a data link and an obstacle avoidance system.

The helicopters also have 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 during medevac.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh this week underlined the success of the armed forces’ ‘aatmanirbhar’ push last week when he tweeted: “68% of procurement will be from purchase of products made in India. In this also, we have arranged to buy 25% only from private companies…”

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