The first indigenous chopper of India, Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH –Dhruv) designed, developed, produced and maintained by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) to meet the requirement of military and civil operators, achieved a new milestone of flying one lakh hours today.
The land mark has been achieved in the early hours today with the flying of helicopter IA 3104 of 301 Army Aviation Sqn (Spl ops). “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 Indian armed forces, BSF and other precious 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 Col Kapil Agarwal who completed the landmark flying hours.
ALH is being operated by 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), earth quake at Sikkim (2011) and the biggest ever helicopter based rescue operation undertaken by Indian defence forces in flood & 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 self-sealing capability, extensive use of composite material on fuselage and rotor system, integration of role and optional equipments such as rescue hoist, stretchers and cargo-hook.
Dhruv also has advanced avionics (communication, navigation & 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.