Indian Navy activates first Dhruv Mk III unit

Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 323 ‘Harriers’ has been formally commissioned as the first unit to operate the latest variant of the indigenously developed Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), otherwise known as the Dhruv Mk III.

A formal commissioning ceremony for the Squadron was held on April 19 at Indian Naval Station Hansa, Goa-Dabolim. Various senior officials attended the event, including Minister of State for Defence Hon’ble Raksha Rajya Mantri Shri Shripad Naik and Vice Admiral R Hari Kumar, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Western Naval Command.

Dhruv Mk III [Indian Navy]
Indian Navy HAL Dhruv Mk III - serial IN709 - at the INAS 323 commissioning ceremony on April 19. Indian Navy

INAS 323, which will be equipped with three Dhruv Mk IIIs, is commanded by Commander Samik Nundy, an accomplished and experienced ALH pilot with extensive operational experience. INAS 323 is a brand-new squadron, with no previous history. The Indian Navy has 16 Dhruv Mk IIIs on order. The first three were formally handed over at Aero India on February 5, 2021.