The Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) ‘Dhruv’ inducted into the Indian Navy in 2003 has steadily become one of the go-to platforms undertaking multi-role missions. Despite the initial hiccups the Indian Navy had with this naval variant, the ALH’s enhanced capabilities have given teeth to Indian Navy’s operations from ‘INS Garuda’, the Naval Air Station under the Southern Naval Command (SNC), here.
The Squadron commissioned as INAS 322 (Guardians) in 2013, operating the ALHs, is presently commanded by Cdr Hari Govind R. In the last five years the squadron has enhanced ALH roles including NVG (Night Vision Goggles) operations, special operations for commando tasks (MARCOS), SAR (search and rescue) by day and night, embarked missions on helicopter capable platforms, casualty evacuation, anti-piracy operations (armed) and logistics\communication duties among others.
Designed and developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the progress achieved by the ALH during the initial days were painstakingly slow, as the aircraft itself went through huge teething troubles. With Navy’s involvement, HAL designers and engineers took the challenges head on and incorporated a vast number of modifications transforming the ALH into a robust military platform.
Today, the ALHs have become the workhorse of Indian Army and it is a matter of time before other Services, including the Indian Navy, too utilises the potential of the undoubted brand ambassador of a ‘Made in India’ platform.
“From a flying machine with many issues, she has now matured by miles. The enormous potential of the platform has been harnessed after the fitment of new equipment was carried out. From the initial role of helicopter training of our pilots, the ALH has definitely progressed in the last five years,” says an Indian Navy official.
By: Manorama Online
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