New Delhi: The Indian Army has temporarily grounded its fleet of Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv as a “precautionary measure”, following the May 4 crash in Jammu and Kashmir's Kishtwar, in which one soldier was killed and two others were injured, said defence officials. An ALH Dhruv with three people on board crashed following a "hard landing" in Kishtwar. A technician was killed and two pilots were injured in the incident.
"In view of the crash in which one Army jawan lost his life on May 4, operations of the ALH Dhruv choppers have been halted as a precautionary measure by the force," Defence officials told news agency ANI.
ALH Dhruv grounded for 2nd time in two months
Notably, this is the second time in the last two months that the chopper fleet has been grounded for checks. In March, a Dhruv helicopter belonging to the Navy crashed during a routine flying mission off Mumbai. The three-member aircrew were not injured. Another accident happened in Kochi in April when a Coast Guard helicopter made a crash landing during trials.
The Navy and the Coast Guard had grounded their respective ALH Dhruv fleets following the incidents involving the platform.
As per news agency PTI sources, the ALH Dhruv choppers with the Navy and the Coast Guard are undergoing technical checks. The helicopters which have been cleared in the scrutiny process are flying now. The Indian Air Force operates around 70 ALH Dhruv.
ALH Dhruv mainstay of Indian Army
The ALH Dhruv is the mainstay of the Indian Army which flies them extensively in high altitude and other operational areas. In total, the defence forces operate around 300 Dhruv choppers, designed and developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
The Army Aviation Corps uses different variants of these choppers including the Rudra Weapon System Integrated version. The grounding of choppers will impact the operations as military movements had to rely on the Cheetah/ Chetak fleet even as high-intensity operations are going on in Rajouri and Baramulla against terrorist groups.
(With agencies input)