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Dhruv chopper is now ready for Siachen
Anil Bhat in Udhampur | February 20, 2007 11:16 IST
Inducted into the IAF in 1998, India's first advanced light helicopter Dhruv has come out with flying colours clearing all trials for regular high-altitude operations in the Siachen skyline of Jammu and Kashmir.
Dhruv has cleared all test trials for flying over Siachen Glacier without any error and joined the category of Chetak and Cheetah helicopters, which fly daily to the icy heights to maintain support services for troops based there, Air Force sources said.
The chopper has been validated for high-altitude, low temperature flying, required to maintain the supply lines for the Siachen region, they said.
"Dhruv qualified for the operations last month after the trials. It can now fly in the glacier sector in all conditions and conduct all types of operations required there", the sources said.
Trials of the chopper, manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Bangalore, were carried by Commanding Officer of Chandigarh-based Dhruv squadron Sq Ld Sandesh Mitra for over a six-month-period at different times and under various weather conditions
Giving details of the types of tests Dhruv underwent, the sources said the test trials were carried by IAF pilots in the glacier sector in terms of operations relating to search and rescue, emergency airlifts, air ambulance, evacuation and payload deliveries in high altitude posts and in carriage of men and material.
They said the indigenously built ALH performed beyond expected limits in the Siachen sector. "This has surprised even its pilots as flying a chopper in 5.6 tonnage category in posts like Indra Col at 23000 feet above sea level is virtually impossible," one source said.
"However, a decision on inducting Dhruv for regular, daily operations in the glacier has not yet been taken. The decision will be made soon", he said.The Navy describes Dhruv as a 'sea savior' for its casualty evacuation operations in sea and coastline area. While Kochi-based Southern Naval Command has one unit of Dhruv specially designed for naval operations with rafts, two squadrons are located in Bangalore and Chandigarh.