Maiden ground run of HAL chopper for Coast Guard

Bengaluru: The first green Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv Mark-III, made by state-run HAL for the Indian Coast Guard, had a maiden ground run, the defence PSU said on Thursday.

“The chopper earmarked for the Coast Guard had a maiden ground run with basic systems installed on board,” said the city-based Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) in a statement here.

The prototype was handed over to HAL’s rotary wing research and development centre, a design house for integration and certification of 19 new systems.

“Indian Coast Guard Director General Rajendra Singh received the copter’s contract documents from our Chairman T. Suvarna Raju on the occasion,” said the statement.

The Coast Guard in March 2017 placed an order with HAL to deliver 16 Dhruvs at a cost of Rs 5,126 crore in five years to boost its low intensity maritime operations and coast security capabilities.

“The contract includes performance-based logistics support to the choppers for five years after the delivery. The Dhruv are deployed for search and rescue, casualty evacuation, armed patrol, coastal surveillance and VIP movement,” said Raju.

The Coast Guard has been using the ALH since 2002 with an operational squadron based at its air enclave in neighbouring Goa.

“The Coast Guard’s order for 19 ALHs reflects its trust in our capabilities and gives an impetus to the government’s Make in India campaign,” added Raju.

The certified helicopter deliveries will commence from 2020.

“The logistics support is emerging as a preferred acquisition strategy for the defence acquisition and asset management as it ensures the product uptime availability to the customer while the responsibility gets transferred to the supplier,” said the statement.