HAL Dhruv handed over to Maldives
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.