This will provide a major fillip to the abilities of the Indian Coast Guard

With the commissioning of an Indian Coast Guard Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Mk-III squadron on Wednesday, the Coast Guard Region East has received a major boost to its capabilities.

The squadron was commissioned by Director General Coast Guard VS Pathania at the ICG Air Station, Chennai.

The commissioning of 840 Sqn (CG) is indicative of the leap towards self-reliance in the field of helicopter manufacturing, in line with the government's vision of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’, the Ministry of Defence said.

It will provide a major fillip to the abilities of Indian Coast Guard in the security sensitive waters off Tamil Nadu and Andhra region, the ministry added.

A total of 16 ALH Mk-III aircraft have been inducted in the Indian Coast Guard in a phased manner and four of these aircraft are positioned in Chennai. Since induction, the squadron has flown over 430 hours and conducted numerous operational missions.

The ALH Mk-III helicopters have been indigenously manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). They feature state-of-the-art equipment including advanced radar as well as Electro optical sensors, Shakti engines, full glass cockpit, high-intensity search light, advanced communication systems, automatic identification system and a search-and-rescue homer.

"This feature enables the helicopter to undertake maritime reconnaissance as well as carry out search and rescue at extended ranges while operating from ships, both by day and night," the Ministry of Defence said.

The aircraft has the ability to switch roles from an offensive platform with heavy machine gun to that of a benign one carrying a Medical Intensive Care Unit to facilitate transfer of critically ill patients.