In a major boost to further strengthening the Coast Guard Region North West, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) on Tuesday commissioned its Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) MK III helicopters at Porbandar in Gujarat which includes an armed version helicopter also which can hit targets from 1800 metres.
The ALH MK III squadron was commissioned by the Director-General of Indian Coast Guard VS Pathania at ICG Air Enclave in Porbandar today.
"Indian Coast Guard has inducted an armed version of the ALH Mark3 chopper in the Gujarat region which is armed with a 12.7 mm Heavy Machine Gun which can effectively hit targets at over 1800m," ICG officials said.
"The rules of engagement of the force allow it to be used against anti-national elements as per laid down procedures," Pathania told ANI when asked if the hun can be used against individuals or groups involved in smuggling or other anti-India activities in the sea.
According to ICG, the choppers are going to boost the maritime surveillance capabilities of the force along the border with Pakistan.
"The commissioning of this squadron earmarks a tremendous leap towards self-reliance in the field of SAR and maritime surveillance, in line with government's vision of "Aatmanirbhar Bharat", ICG said in a statement.
The ICG said that the chopper is armed with a 12.7 mm Heavy Machine Gun which can effectively hit targets at over 1800m.
ALH MK III helicopters that have been indigenously manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), features state-of-the-art equipment including advanced RADAR as well as Electro-optical sensors, Shakti engines, full glass cockpit, high-intensity searchlight, advanced communication systems, automatic identification system as well as search-and-rescue homer.
"These feature enables them to undertake maritime reconnaissance as well as carry out search and rescue at extended ranges even whilst operating from ships, both by day and night," it said.
The aircraft has the ability to switch roles from an offensive platform with a heavy machine gun to that of a benign one carrying a Medical Intensive Care Unit to facilitate the transfer of critically ill patients.
"So far, 13 ALH MK-III aircraft have been inducted in the Indian Coast Guard in a phased manner and 04 of these aircraft are positioned at Porbandar," the statement further reads.
Since induction, the squadron has flown over 1200 hours and conducted numerous operational missions including the maiden night search and rescue mission off Diu coast.
"3.835 Sqn (CG) is commanded by Commandant Sunil Dutt, and manned by 10 Officers and 52 men. The commissioning of 835 Sqn (CG) will give a major fillip to the abilities of the Indian Coast Guard in the security-sensitive Gujarat region," it added. (ANI)