Indian Navy commissions the first ALH Squadron INAS 324 in Visakhapatnam

Tags: Defence

Indian Naval Air Squadron INS 324 was commissioned into the Indian Navy at Visakhapatnam on 4 July.

  • INAS 324 Squadron

  • The unit is the first Naval Squadron on the Eastern Seaboard to operate indigenously designed and manufactured Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Mk III (MR) helicopters.

  • It is named after a bird species named 'Kestrels' which has superior sensing capabilities, symbolizing the envisaged role of aircraft and air squadrons.

  • The insignia of the squadron depicts a ‘Kestrel’ searching over vast blue waters and white sea waves, which signifies the role of Maritime Reconnaissance (MR) and Search and Rescue (SAR) role of the squadron.

  • The ALH Mk III helicopters are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment including advanced surveillance radars and electro-optical sensors.

  • These helicopters can also be deployed for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations and for special operations with the Marine Commandos (Marcos).

  • Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH)

  • It is an indigenously developed utility aircraft by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) with a twin-engine.

  • Its development was initiated in 1984, and was initially designed with German assistance from the Messerschmitt-Bolko-Blohm (MBB).

  • As of 2020, over 300 HAL Dhruves have been produced for the domestic and export markets.

  • The major variants of Dhruv are classified as Dhruv Mk-I, Mk-II, Mk-III & Mk-IV.

  • HAL has received orders for 73 ALHs for the ALH Mk-III and Mk-IV variants from the Indian Army, Coast Guard and Navy in 2017.

  • HAL has also supplied it to Nepal Army, Mauritius Police and Maldives.

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