HAL Dhruv handed over to Mal­dives

SP's MAI - - SPOTLIGHT -

The Hin­dus­tan Aero­nau­tics Lim­ited’s (HAL) in­dige­nously de­signed and pro­duced Dhruv he­li­copter has been sym­bol­i­cally handed over to the Mal­di­vian de­fence forces at a func­tion or­gan­ised by the South­ern Naval Com­mand at Kochi Naval Base (INS Garuda) on De­cem­ber 14, 2013. The Mal­di­vian De­fence and Na­tional Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter Mo­hamed Nazim un­veiled, what he called, “pre­cious gift from In­dia in the pres­ence of Vice Ad­mi­ral Satish Soni, Com­man­der-in-Chief, South­ern Naval Com­mand, and T. Su­varna Raju, Di­rec­tor (De­sign and De­vel­op­ment), HAL.

Dr R.K. Tyagi, Chair­man of HAL hailed the mo­men­tous oc­ca­sion and said the ad­vanced light he­li­copter (ALH) would be in Male in the be­gin­ning of the new year. “We are proud that ALH handed over to Mal­dives is ‘Made in In­dia’ with proven track record in both mil­i­tary and civil op­er­a­tions,” he added.

HAL tech­ni­cal sup­port team is po­si­tioned at GAN, Mal­dives, to pro­vide main­te­nance and lo­gis­tic sup­port. Dhruv has also been ex­ported to Ecuador, Mau­ri­tius and Nepal. The Ecuador Air Force (FAE) op­er­ates six Dhruv he­li­copters with their Pres­i­dent choos­ing to fly in one of them.

Dhruv is ex­tremely use­ful in meet­ing the ar­du­ous tasks in dif­fi­cult ter­rains. It played a key role in search and res­cue op­er­a­tions dur­ing tsunami (2004), flash floods in Leh (2010), earth­quake in Sikkim (2011) and the big­gest ever he­li­copter based res­cue op­er­a­tions un­der­taken by In­dian de­fence forces in flood and rain­hit ar­eas of Ut­tarak­hand this year. Dhruv is al­ready op­er­a­tional in Mal­dives which is ex­ten­sively used for sur­veil­lance, med­i­cal evac­u­a­tion, in as­sist­ing civil ad­min­is­tra­tion, train­ing and res­cue op­er­a­tions.

Dhruv is be­ing op­er­ated by the In­dian Air Force, the In­dian Army, the In­dian Navy, the Coast Guard, the Bor­der Se­cu­rity Force and state gov­ern­ments since 2002. Cur­rently, over 130 Dhruv he­li­copters are serv­ing the In­dian de­fence forces. HAL has also built 12 civil vari­ant Dhruv he­li­copters.

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