Indian Navy commissions the first ALH Squadron INAS 324 in Visakhapatnam
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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