Indian Naval Air Squadron 324, comprising indigenously-designed and built Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) MK-III (MR), was commissioned into the service on Monday in presence of Eastern Naval Command, Vice Admiral Biswajit Dasgupta at INS Dega, Visakhapatnam, a defence statement said.
Addressing the gathering, Vice Admiral Dasgupta stated that the commissioning of the first ALH MK III Squadron in the command will enhance the surveillance capability on the eastern seaboard.
INAS 324 is commanded by Cdr S.S. Dash.
The Ministry of Defence said that INAS 324 has been named “Kestrels” which are birds of prey and have good sensory capabilities symbolising the envisaged role of the helicopters and the squadron.
The squadron’s insignia depicts a ‘Kestrel’ searching over vast blue and white sea waves, which signifies its integral maritime reconnaissance (MR) and search and rescue (SAR) role.
The ALH MK-III helicopters are fitted with state-of-the-art equipment which includes modern surveillance radar and electro-optical sensors. Induction of these flying machines is, in pursuance of the Atma Nirbhar Bharat initiative, as they have been developed and manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).
In addition to their primary roles of MR and SAR, these helicopters can also be deployed for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations as well as special operations with the Marine Commandos.
The helicopter also has an airborne medical intensive care unit (MICU) for use in the air ambulance role to facilitate the medical evacuation of critically ill patients.