Ad­vanced light he­li­copter Dhruv clocks 1,00,000 fly­ing hours

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The first in­dige­nous chop­per of In­dia, Dhruv, the ad­vanced light he­li­copter (ALH), de­signed, de­vel­oped, pro­duced and main­tained by the Hin­dus­tan Aero­nau­tics Ltd. (HAL) to meet the re­quire­ment of mil­i­tary and civil op­er­a­tors, achieved a new mile­stone of fly­ing one lakh hours re­cently. The land­mark was achieved with the fly­ing of he­li­copter IA 3104 of 301 Army Aviation squadron.

“It is a proud mo­ment for us that Dhruv has proved its met­tle over the years. In­dia is the sixth na­tion in the world to have the ca­pa­bil­ity to de­velop he­li­copters of this class. Dhruv has been ex­ported to Ecuador, Mau­ri­tius, Nepal and Mal­dives”, said Dr R.K. Tyagi, Chair­man, HAL. He also thanked the In­dian armed forces, Bor­der Se­cu­rity Force (BSF) per­son­nel and other im­por­tant cus­tomers for their con­tin­ued sup­port to this prod­uct.

“One lakh hours flown by the ma­chine is an awe­some feat to achieve. It is a dream ma­chine for any pi­lot”, said Lt Colonel Kapil Agarwal who com­pleted the land­mark fly­ing hours.

ALH is be­ing op­er­ated by the In­dian Air Force, In­dian Army, In­dian Navy, Coast Guard, BSF and state govern­ments since 2002. Cur­rently, more than 132 Dhruv he­li­copters are serv­ing the In­dian de­fence forces. HAL has also built 12 civil vari­ant Dhruv he­li­copters and they are be­ing used by its cus­tomers. The Ecuador Air Force (FAE) op­er­ates six Dhruv he­li­copters with their Pres­i­dent choos­ing to fly in them.

Dhruv is ex­tremely use­ful to the In­dian de­fence forces in meet­ing the ar­du­ous tasks in dif­fi­cult ter­rains of Hi­malayas like Si­achen Glacier and Kash­mir. It played a key role in res­cue op­er­a­tions dur­ing tsunami (2004), flash floods at Leh (2010), earth­quake at Sikkim (2011) and the big­gest ever he­li­copter based res­cue op­er­a­tion un­der­taken by In­dian de­fence forces in flood and rain-hit ar­eas of Ut­tarak­hand re­cently.

ALH Dhruv is an all-weather he­li­copter which can carry 10-16 peo­ple at heights of 10,000 feet. It is a multi-role, multi-mis­sion new gen­er­a­tion he­li­copter in the 5.5-tonne weight class and meets Fed­eral Aviation Reg­u­la­tions (FAR) spec­i­fi­ca­tions. It has demon­strated its ca­pa­bil­ity in long dis­tance flights, ver­ti­cal climb and in ma­noeu­vring.

The ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy fea­tures in­cor­po­rated in the de­sign of Dhruv in­clude hinge-less main ro­tor and bear­ing-less tail ro­tor, in­te­grated dy­namic sys­tem en­com­pass­ing main gear box and up­per con­trols in a sin­gle hous­ing, higher powered Shakti en­gines, in­te­grated ar­chi­tec­ture dis­play sys­tem (glass cock­pit), du­plex au­to­matic flight con­trol sys­tem, re­dun­dancy with twin-en­gine, dual hy­draulics and con­trols, 30-minute dry-run ca­pa­bil­ity of gear boxes, crash­wor­thy bot­tom struc­ture, land­ing gear, crew seat and fuel tanks with self­seal­ing ca­pa­bil­ity, ex­ten­sive use of com­pos­ite ma­te­rial on fuse­lage and ro­tor sys­tem, in­te­gra­tion of role and op­tional equip­ment such as res­cue hoist, stretch­ers and cargo-hook.

Dhruv also has ad­vanced avion­ics (com­mu­ni­ca­tion, nav­i­ga­tion and sur­veil­lance) and mis­sion sys­tems. All this makes Dhruv, a ver­sa­tile multi-mis­sion, multi-role he­li­copter ca­pa­ble of op­er­at­ing in all-weather and ex­treme cli­matic con­di­tions with high de­gree of re­li­a­bil­ity and sur­viv­abil­ity.

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