Indian Navy's ALH deployed to assist Maldives National Defence Force

The Indian Navy has deployed a detachment of the advanced light helicopter (ALH) MK III to assist the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF).

Based at Kadhdhoo Island in Laamu Atol of Maldives, the Indian Navy helicopter detachment comprises of an experienced helicopter pilot along with four officers and 21 sailors.

Additional crew includes a technical support team comprising 13 technicians and a support team with the spares and support equipment.

The helicopter will assist MNDF in carrying out search and rescue, casualty evacuation, coastal surveillance, maritime reconnaissance, communication and logistic duties.

The detachment of the ALH is expected to further strengthen the robust maritime cooperation between the two nations.

The twin-engine craft Dhruv MK III, which is powered by Shakti engines, has been co-developed by Turbomeca and HAL and features second-generation active vibration control and additions to the cockpit displays.

The Dhruv MK III can carry a 200kg payload at a high-altitude capacity of 6,000m, which is a critical requirement for the Indian Army.

The Shakti engine can also be deployed on Dhruv weapon system integrated (WSI) variants that carry a 20mm cannon, rockets and mistral missiles on external pylons.

The Indian Navy's first ALH (Dhruv) Squadron was commissioned at Kochi on 12 November 2013.

The first indigenously designed and manufactured helicopter has proven its capabilities in all the three services of the Armed Forces, Indian Coast Guard, BSF and in the inventory of foreign countries.