As part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Atmanirbhar Bharat vision, three indigenously-built Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) MK III were inducted into Indian Coast Guard (ICG) on Saturday. Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar said that the helicopters, which are part of ALH Mk III programme, will be positioned at four Coast Guard squadrons at Bhubaneshwar, Porbandar, Kochi and Chennai.
A virtual program was held simultaneously at the ICG Headquarters in Delhi and at Helicopter MRO Division of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)in Bengaluru. Director General, Indian Coast Guard, K Natarajan and R Madhavan, CMD, HAL were also present on the occasion.
The helicopters, indigenously designed and manufactured by HAL, Bengaluru, are state-of-the-art flying machines and constitute a major step in the quest for Atma Nirbhar Bharat.
The helicopters are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment like Surveillance Radar, Electro-Optic Pod, Medical Intensive Care Unit, High-intensity Search Light, SAR Homer, Loud Hailer, Machine Gun and can perform other key roles. Helicopter MRO Division is the nodal agency for execution of PBL contract along with Engine Division and other Sister Divisions of HAL.
“The state of the art Helicopters with advanced sensors will enable ICG to take up challenging tasks. This is for the first time Performance-Based Logistics is being introduced in Indian Aviation sector which is a modern management practice and will increase operational and maintenance efficiency. The sophisticated helicopters being handed over today will be a game-changer for the operational capability of ICG in the times to come," Defence Secretary said.
Director-General Coast Guard K Natarajan said that the ICG has been a torchbearer in promoting and inducting indigenous products since the formative years of the service. The induction of ALH MK III is a testimony to the ICG's commitment towards “Atma Nirbhar Bharat”. HAL has been the most trusted partner in the growth of the ICG aviation fleet delivering multi-role and highly capable platforms.
"The induction of ALH MKIII in challenging times bears a testament to the resilience of HAL and ICG. These helicopters will usher a paradigm shift in the capability in ship-borne operations and enhance coastal surveillance," he further said.
"Indian Coast Guard is also the first service to have Performance-Based Logistics management system introduced in aviation to ensure Helicopter Availability at four bases," he added.
Speaking on the occasion, R Madhavan said, "With this contract, HAL is embarking on a new journey of Performance Based Logistics (PBL). The PBL will assure desired levels of availability of ALH MKIII fleet of ICG for six and half years, a unique feature of this contract and a first of its kind in HAL."