NEW DELHI: In a major development to further strengthen the Coast Guard Region East, 840 Sqn (CG), an Indian Coast Guard Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Mk-III squadron, was commissioned by DG VS Pathania at ICG Air Station, Chennai. It will significantly boost the security of coastal areas, especially in Tamil Nadu and Andhra regions.
The aircraft may transform from an offensive platform with a powerful machine gun to a benign one carrying a medical intensive care unit to assist the transfer of critically ill patients, claims a Defence Ministry official.
Four of the 16 ALH Mk-III aircraft that have been gradually added to the Indian Coast Guard are currently stationed in Chennai. The squadron has flown more than 430 hours since induction and has completed multiple operational missions.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) produces the ALH Mk-III helicopters in-house. They are outfitted with cutting-edge technology such as advanced RADAR and Electro-optical sensors, Shakti engines, a full glass cockpit, high-intensity searchlights, advanced communication systems, automatic identification systems, and search-and-rescue helicopters.
"This function allows the helicopter to conduct maritime reconnaissance and carry out search and rescue at expanded ranges while operating from ships, both day and night," The ministry source said.
The Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Mk-III squadron, 840 Sqn (CG), was set up in the Coast Guard Region East by DGA VS Pathania. The commissioning of 840 Sqn (CG) is indicative of the leap towards self-reliance in the field of helicopter manufacturing, in consonant with the government's vision of 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat'.
It will provide a major fillip to the abilities of the Indian Coast Guard in the security-sensitive waters off Tamil Nadu and Andhra region, a Coast Guard official said.