Coast Guard commissions its second air squadron

India Indian Coast Guard NEWS

NEW DELHI: Indian Coast Guard commissioned its second air squadron equipped with indigenously designed and developed advanced light helicopter (ALH) MK-III at the Coast Guard Air Enclave here on Wednesday.

“In a major boost to maritime security, 845 squadron (CG) has been commissioned by Director General V S Pathania, Indian Coast Guard, in Kochi in the presence of various civil and military dignitaries based here and in the adjoining region,” a defence release said here.

It said the 845 squadron became the premier ALH MK-III squadron in the Coast Guard’s western seaboard.

“The commissioning of this squadron earmarks a tremendous leap towards self-reliance in the field of SAR (search and rescue) and long-range maritime surveillance in line with government’s push towards “Aatmanirbhar Bharat. ALH MK-III helicopters feature array of state-of-the-art sensors, which add up to maritime prowess of Indian Coast Guard at sea,” the release said.

The helicopters have powerful Shakti engines, full-glass cockpit, high-intensity searchlight, traffic alert and collision avoidance system, advanced communication systems, automatic identification system and automatic flight control system, among others, and is fitted with modern surveillance radar/electro-optical equipment, which enables them to undertake the role of long-range maritime reconnaissance in addition to providing long range search and rescue, both by day and night.

The helicopter is provided with a heavy machine gun to undertake constabulary missions at sea and also a removable medical intensive care unit (MICU) to facilitate critically ill patients during medevac, it said.

Out of 16 ALH MK-IIIs, 12 have been inducted into the Indian Coast Guard in a phased manner and with the latest four of these being positioned in Kochi, covering the entire coast of Karnataka, Kerala and Lakshadweep islands under their surveillance efforts.

With induction in March this year, the squadron has already flown over 350 hours and conducted numerous operational missions namely NATPOLREX VIII in Goa, afloat confirmatory trials and clearances, trial landings at dispersed helipads.

The 845 squadron is commanded by Commandant Kunal Naik and manned by nine officers and 35 men.

Source: Press Trust of India

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