Coast Guard commissions ALH-MkIII squadron in Porbandar

Keel laid for seventh stealth frigate under Project-17A for Navy

Published - June 28, 2022 08:59 pm IST - NEW DELHI

The ALH-MkIII choppers at Porbandar on Tuesday.

The ALH-MkIII choppers at Porbandar on Tuesday. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Coast Guard on Tuesday commissioned an indigenous Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH)-MkIII squadron, 835 Squadron (CG), at the air enclave at Pornandar in Gujarat.

In a separate development, the keel of the last of Project-17A stealth frigates for the Navy was laid at Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd. (MDL), Mumbai.

“So far, 13 ALH MK-III helicopters have been inducted in a phased manner and four of these are positioned at Porbandar. Since the induction, the squadron has flown over 1,200 hours and conducted numerous operational missions, including the maiden night SAR mission off Diu coast,” the Coast Guard said in a statement.

The ALH helicopters have been indigenously manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL). They feature state-of-the-art equipment, including advanced radar as well as electro optical sensors, Shakti engines, full glass cockpit, high-intensity searchlight, advanced communication systems, automatic identification system as well as search and rescue (SAR) homer, the Coast Guard said.

“The features enable them to undertake maritime reconnaissance as well as carry out SAR at extended ranges even while operating from ships during both day and night,” the Coast Guard said. The aircraft has the ability to switch roles from an offensive platform with heavy machine gun to that of a benign one carrying a medical intensive care unit to facilitate transfer of critically ill patients, it stated. 

The 835 Sqn (CG) is commanded by Commandant Sunil Dutt.

Stealth frigate 

The keel for the seventh stealth frigate was ceremoniously laid by Rear Admiral G.K. Harish, Director-General, Naval Design (Surface Ship Group) at MDL. The ceremony was performed in the presence of senior officials of the Indian Navy and MDL. Keel Laying is a major milestone activity in the construction of ships, symbolising formal commencement of the erection process of warships on the building berth.

Seven Frigates under P17A class are being constructed of which four are being constructed at MDL and three in Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd. (GRSE) with MDL as lead yard. The P17A class frigates are being built using indigenously developed steel and fitted with weapons and sensors along with Integrated Platform Management System, the Navy said in a statement.

The first two ships of P17A Project were launched in 2019 and 2020 at MDL and GRSE, respectively.

The project cost of seven ships under Project-17A was ₹45,000 crore as sanctioned by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in 2015.

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