The Indian Coast Guard on Tuesday commissioned a squadron of the indigenous Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) MK III at its Air Enclave in Porbandar to increase surveillance across the Gujarat coastline, an official statement said.
The commissioning of this squadron will increase self-reliance in the field of search and rescue (SAR) and maritime surveillance, it said.
The ALH MK III helicopters, manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), feature state-of-the-art equipment including advanced radar, as well as electro-optical sensors, Shakti engines, full glass cockpit, high-intensity searchlights, advanced communication systems, automatic identification system as well as SAR homers.
The features enable them to undertake maritime reconnaissance as well as carry out SAR at extended ranges even while operating from ships during both day and night.
The helicopter 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.
So far, 13 ALH MK-III have been inducted in the Indian Coast Guard in a phased manner and four of these 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 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, the statement said.