Navy Inducts Indigenously Built Advanced Light Helicopters ALH MK III | Image Source: https://odishatv.in/
On June 28, 2022, the 835 Squadron (CG), an indigenous Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) MK III squadron, was commissioned into the Indian Coast Guard at its Air Enclave in Porbandar, Gujarat. The DG, Coast Guard Shri VS Pathania presided over the commissioning ceremony, which was attended by military & civilian dignitaries based in Porbandar and Gujarat. This squadron marks a big step towards self-reliance in the field of Search and Rescue (SAR) and maritime surveillance, in line with vision of an “Aatmanirbhar Bharat“.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) builds the ALH MK III helicopters. Their state-of-the-art equipment includes advanced RADAR, electro optical sensors, Shakti engines, a glass cockpit, high-intensity searchlight, advanced communication systems, automatic identification systems, and SAR homers. The features let them do both maritime reconnaissance and SAR even from ships during the day and at night. The aircraft has the ability to switch roles from an offensive platform with heavy machine gun to that of a benign one carrying a Medical Intensive Care Unit to facilitate transfer of critically ill patients.
The Indian Coast Guard has inducted 13 ALH MK-IIIs so far and four of them are based at Porbandar. The squadron has flown over 1,200 hours since induction and conducted a bunch of operations, including the first night SAR mission off the Diu coast.
The commissioning will give a major fillip to the abilities of the Indian Coast Guard in the Gujarat region and further strengthen the country’s maritime security.