The Indian Coast Guard inducted three indigenously manufactured Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) Mk-III on Saturday.
On June 7, the Indian Navy commissioned a second naval air squadron equipped with ALH Mk-III aircraft. These three helicopters, made by the Centre-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, were inducted at Indian Naval Station (INS) Dega in Visakhapatnam on India's eastern coast. The first unit of three ALH Mk-IIIs joined the Indian naval service on April 19.
Among other tasks, the helicopters will be mainly used for maritime reconnaissance, coastal surveillance, and search-and-rescue operations. ALH MK III is also fitted with a heavy machine gun to undertake constabulary missions. A removable medical intensive care unit (ICU) is also fitted on ALH MK III helicopters to airlift critically ill patients, according to the Indian government's Press Information Bureau (PIB).
The twin-engined rotorcraft for the Navy are part of an order for 16 units placed by the service in 2017. Another 16 ALHs were ordered at the time for the Indian Coast Guard (ICG).
The 5.5-ton Mk IIIs will supplement, and eventually replace, the IN's and the ICG's depleting fleets of licence-built Chetak (Aérospatiale Alouette III) light utility helicopters (LUHs) that entered service from 1969 and are reaching the end of their total technical life.