The Indian Navy inducted three indigenously-built advanced light helicopters ALH MK III that would be used for maritime reconnaissance and coastal security. ALH MK III helicopters feature an array of systems previously seen only on heavier, multi-role helicopters of the Indian Navy
The three helicopters, made by the Centre-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, were inducted at the Indian Naval Station (INS) Dega, Eastern Naval Command (ENC), in Visakhapatnam.
“With the induction of these maritime reconnaissance and coastal Security (MRCS) helicopters, the ENC got a major boost towards enhancing the capabilities of the force. These helicopters are fitted with modern surveillance radar and electro-optical equipment, which enable them to undertake the role of maritime reconnaissance in addition to providing long-range search and rescue, both by day and night,” the Indian Navy’s statement mentioned.
In addition to special operations capabilities, 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. The helicopter also has a host of advanced avionics, making it truly an all-weather aircraft. The first unit of three ALH MK III helicopters were inducted in the Indian Navy on April 19.
The Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) program for an indigenous 5-ton multirole helicopter was initiated in May 1979 by the Indian Air Force and Indian Naval Air Arm. HAL were given a contract by the Indian government in 1984 to develop the helicopter; Germany’s Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB) were contracted in July 1984 as a design consultant and collaborative partner on the programme. The ALH Mk-III with new Shakti-1H engines has very good high altitude performance operating at altitudes over 6 km. It comes with seating for 14 fully equipped troops.