PORBANDAR: In a move to strengthen India’s maritime security, the Indian Coast Guard has commissioned an indigenous Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) MK III squadron at its Air Enclave in Porbandar on Tuesday.
The ALH MK III was commissioned by the Indian Coast Guard, Director-General VS Pathania, along with various military and civil dignitaries attending the commissioning ceremony.
The 835 Sqn (CG) is commanded by Commandant Sunil Dutt. 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, a defence statement said.
The commissioning of this squadron marks a tremendous leap toward self-reliance in the field of Search and Rescue (SAR) and maritime surveillance, in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’, the statement added.
“So far, 13 ALH MK-III aircraft have been inducted into the Indian Coast Guard in a phased manner and four of these aircraft are positioned at Porbandar. Since the induction, the squadron has flown over 1,200 hours and conducted numerous operational missions, including the maiden night SAR mission off Diu coast,” the release stated.
The helicopters are indigenously manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The helicopters are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment which includes advanced RADAR as well as Electro-optical sensors, Shakti engines, a full glass cockpit, high-intensity searchlight, advanced communication systems, automatic identification system as well as SAR homer.
The high-class features enable maritime border surveying and a wider search base to conduct SAR while operating from the ship during both day and night.
The aircraft also has the ability to switch roles from an offensive platform with a heavy machine gun to a harmless one carrying a Medical Intensive Care Unit to facilitate the transfer of critically ill patients.