Indian Coast Guard adds teeth to its Aviation Arm
In line with Hon’ble PM’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat, Dr Ajay Kumar Defence Secretary on Saturday 12 Jun 2021 inducted Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) Mk-III in Indian Coast Guard (ICG). The state-of-the-art helicopters are indigenously designed and manufactured by M/s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bengaluru.
The maiden ceremony was carried out through digital means, keeping COVID protocol at fore and promoting GoI’s vision of ‘Digital India’. Indian Coast Guard Director General K Natarajan, Shri R Madhavan, CMD, HAL and MoD officials were among those who attended the event.
Dr Ajay Kumar in his address praised the perseverance of the ICG and M/s HAL by inducting these helicopters in testing times and progressing our Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Make in India’. He also brought out the importance of having these advanced helicopters for ICG to operate them across the spectrum of Coast Guard operations.
The ALH Mk-III marine version has been designed and developed with in-house customisation of 19 additional equipment by HAL to meet ICG requirements. HAL will supply 16 ALH Mk-III to the ICG by the mid of next year.The helicopter is capable of undertaking embarked operations from ships which will enhance Coast Guard capabilities towards Sea air co-ordinated search, interdiction capabilities, Coastal Security, Search and Rescue operations, medical evacuation,Humanitarian missions, Pollution response missions, etc.
While appreciating ICG for the recently conducted successful operations of drugs & arms seizure and saving lives during cyclones Tauktae &YAAS, Defence Secretary said the capacity and capability augmentation of the service needs to be materialised in a time bound manner considering the onerous responsibilities bestowed on ICG by the GoI.
On induction, the 16 ALH Mk-III will be positioned at 04 Coast Guard squadrons at Bhubaneshwar, Porabandar, Kochi and Chennai. The shared maritime boundaries with littoral states are highly susceptible to illegal activities and the regions are prone to frequent cyclones.These squadrons with embarked operations will ensure seamless surveillance and provide assistance to fishermen in distress at sea.
Director General K Natarajan while acknowledging the efforts of Tatrakshaks for recent concurrent successful operations said that ICG is as prepared as ever to discharge its duties and induction of ALH Mk-III will usher a new paradigm shift in our capability to undertake ship borne operations and enhance surveillance prowess with extended reach.
He also brought out that these helicopters will be deployed in a coordinated matrix alongwith ships and aircraft to strengthen the service capabilities in Area of Responsibility and beyond.