Ahmedabad: In a bid to strengthen the Coast Guard Region North West, an advanced light helicopter (ALH) MK III squadron was commissioned by the director general of the Indian Coast Guard at the ICG Air Enclave in Gujarat's Porbandar on Tuesday. The commissioning of this squadron earmarks a tremendous leap towards self-reliance in the field of SAR and maritime surveillance, in line with the government's vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat, a defence release stated.
Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) MK III squadron was commissioned by DG-ICG VS Pathania. As many as 13 ALH MK III aircrafts have been inducted in the ICG in a phased manner, and four of these are positioned at Porbandar, it was stated.
Since their induction, the squadron has flown over 1,200 hours and conducted numerous operational missions, including the maiden night search and rescue mission off Diu coast. ALH MK III helicopters have been indigenously manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and features state-of-the-art equipment, including advanced RADAR as well as electro-optical sensors, Shakti engines, full-glass cockpit, high-intensity searchlight, advanced communication systems, automatic identification system and search-and-rescue homer.
These features enable them to undertake maritime reconnaissance and carry out search and rescue at extended ranges even while operating from ships, both by day and night. The aircraft has the ability to switch roles from being an offensive platform with heavy machine gun to that of one carrying a medical intensive care unit to facilitate transfer of critically ill patients, the release stated.
The commissioning of 835 Squadron of the Coast Guard will give a major fillip to the abilities of the ICG in the security sensitive Gujarat region. It is commanded by Commandant Sunil Dutt and manned by 10 officers and 52 men.