An additional two Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopters (ALHs) have been officially delivered to the Indian Coast Guard.
Both helicopters, serial numbers CG857 and CG858, are the first Dhruv Mk III variants to join the Coast Guard, featuring state-of-the-art technology and advanced sensors. They were officially handed over on March 18.
A symbolic hand over of the two helicopters had taken place earlier this year on February 5, the last day of the biennial Aero India trade show at Yelahanka Air Force Station. However, this was primarily for HAL publicity purposes and the helicopters were not quite ready to enter service at that time.
They are part of an order for 32 Mk III variants announced in March 2017, comprising 16 for the Coast Guard and the remaining 16 for the Indian Navy. The first three for the Indian Navy were handed over at Aero India on February 3.
The Coast Guard has previously taken delivery of four Dhruv Mk I variants, the first of which entered service in March 2002. The two Mk IIIs that have been delivered are the third and fourth for the Coast Guard, as the first and second (CG855 and CG856) are thought to be still with HAL’s Rotary Wing Research and Design Centre (RWR&DC) undergoing development testing.
The Dhruv Mk III features a new full glass cockpit with the HAL Integrated Architecture Display System and more powerful Shakti (Safran Ardiden 1H1) engines replacing the earlier Turbomeca (now Safran) TM333-2B2 powerplants. A total of 19 new systems have been integrated by HAL’s RWR&DC in this latest variant.