Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, September 29
In a major landmark in indigenous weapon production programme, the 300th Advanced Light Helicopterb (AHL), christened Dhruv, rolled out from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) hangar in Bengaluru on Tuesday.
At present, the three services operate 226 Shrubs if different variants. These include 162 by the Army, 56 by the Air Force and 8 by the Navy according to information placed in Parliament by the defence ministry this month. In addition to other government agencies, including the Coast Guard, some other countries have also inducted this helicopter.
While the Dhruv is a transport helicopter capable of ferrrying up to 14 passengers, it also has an armed variant called the Rudra.
Speaking on the occasion, R Madhavan, Chairman-cum-Managing Director, HAL, said that the ALH never looked back from the day when the prototype took its maiden flight on August 30, 1992, and has since evolved into a world class helicopter with its unparalleled performance.
“The evolution from ALH Mark-I to Mark-IV has been phenomenal and is a boost to the indigenous design and development of helicopters”, he stated.
The roll-out certificate of the 300th helicopter was handed over to GVS Bhaskar, Chief Executive Officer, Helicopter Complex by YK Sharma, Additional Director General (South Zone), Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA).
“Rolling out of the 300th ALH is a testimony to the capabilities HAL has built over the years with concerted efforts of employees and customer support,” Bhaskar said “With more ALH getting inducted into the services our focus on customer support is ever increasing. With over 2,80,000 flying hours ALH has proven to be a multirole helicopter for Any Mission, Any Place, Any Time”, he added.
Currently, HAL is producing 73 ALHs contracted by the services. This includes 41 for the Army, 16 for the Indian Navy and 16 for the Indian Coast Guard. Out of this, 38 ALHs have already been produced and the remaining will be rolled out by 2022.
On this occasion, the ‘Ground Run’ of the first Limited Series Production (LSP) of Light Combat Helicopter, was also carried out. This project has been taken up by HAL proactively while the order from the Services on HAL is in process. The LCH was piloted by Gp Capt Hari Krishnan Nair S (Retd), Chief Test Pilot and Gp Capt CG Narasimha Prasad (Retd), Senior Flight Test Engineer of Flight Operations in the Rotary Wing