The first ALH Dhruv Mk-III helicopter earmarked for Indian Coast Guard has completed its build with installation of basic systems and had a successful maiden ground run in Bengaluru on June 29, 2018.
The helicopter was handed over to the Rotary Wing R&D Centre, a design house of HAL for integration and certification of 19 new systems before its delivery to the Coast Guard.
Rajendra Singh, Director General (DG) of Indian Coast Guard, received the contract documents from Mr. T. Suvarna Raju, CMD of HAL, during the event held to mark the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Raju said that HAL has entered into a contract with ICG for the first time that includes Performance Based Logistics (PBL) support after the delivery of helicopters for five years. Already, HAL’s ALH Dhruv Helicopters have been extensively deployed by ICG for various roles such as Search and Rescue (SAR), casualty evacuation (CASEVAC), armed patrol, coastal surveillance, VIP movement and the night SAR, he added.
Mr. Raju said that the order reflects the trust on HAL’s capabilities and gives an impetus to Make-in-India campaign. It reposes faith of the Indian Defence Forces in indigenous ALH which has been serving them with distinction for a long time.
The certified helicopter deliveries are scheduled to commence from 2020 onwards.
HAL had signed a contract worth around Rs. 5126 crore for supply of 16 ALHs (Fixed Wheel) to Indian Coast Guard (ICG) in five year time frame in March 2017 to boost the Low Intensity Maritime Operations (LIMO) and coastal security capabilities.
The first ALH Dhruv squadron of Indian Coast Guard was commissioned in March 2002 with its operational base at Indian Coast Guard Air Enclave (ICGAE), Goa.
The indigenously designed and developed Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH-DHRUV) is a twin engine, multi-role, multi-mission helicopter in the 5.5 ton weight class.
The basic Helicopter is produced in skid version and wheeled version. Dhruv is “type –Certified” for Military operations by the Centre for Military Airworthiness Certification (CEMILAC) and civil operations by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
Certification of the utility military variant was completed in 2002 and that of the civil variant was completed in 2004. The deliveries of production series helicopters commenced from 2001-02 onwards. A total of 228 Helicopters have been produced by March 2017 including 216 for the Indian Armed Forces.
The major variants of Dhruv are classified as Dhruv Mk-I, Mk-II, Mk-III & Mk-IV.
Mk. I is the he initial configuration with a conventional cockpit with mechanical gauges and Turbomeca TM 333-2B2 turboshaft engines. Mk. II is similar to the Mk.1, except has the newer HAL-IAI glass cockpit.
Mk. III is an improved version equipped with a more powerful HAL/Turbomeca Shakti turboshaft engines, new electronic warfare (EW) suite and warning systems, automatic chaff and flare dispensers, and improved vibration control system.
Mk. IV is the armed variant of the Mk. III also called as Dhruv-WSI (Weapons System Integrated) or HAL Rudra. It is equipped with Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) and Thermal Imaging Sights Interface, a 20 mm turret gun, 70 mm rocket pods, anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) and air-to-air missiles (AAM).