The Indian Navy has inducted three Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) MK III helicopters to boost maritime reconnaissance capabilities.
The three Maritime Reconnaissance and Coastal Security (MRCS) helicopters were inducted in a ceremony at Naval Air Station, INS Dega, Eastern Naval Command (ENC) in Visakhapatnam.
Built indigenously by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the ALH MK III helicopters are equipped with systems that were previously present only on heavier, multi-role helicopters of the Indian Navy.
They feature modern surveillance radar and electro-optical equipment to carry out maritime reconnaissance as well as long-range search and rescue missions, both by day and night.
The choppers are also equipped with a heavy machine gun for constabulary missions and a removable Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) to airlift critically ill patients.
This comes as the Indian Navy has ramped up efforts to modernise its ageing helicopter fleet.
According to a Hindustan Times report, the naval forces is expected to receive two MH-60R helicopters from the US next month and another one around the end of this year.
Currently, a team from India are stationed in the US to receive training on the flying machines.
These multi-role helicopters can be equipped with torpedoes and missiles and will significantly boost the navy’s anti-submarine/anti-ship warfare and surveillance capabilities.
Recently, the Government of India’s Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) cleared a major project to build six new conventional submarines for the Indian Navy.
The project is estimated to cost around $5.88bn (Rs430bn).