Tue. May 28th, 2024

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Army Clears Grounded 'Dhruv' Chopper Fleet For Flight, But Conditions Apply

The Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter is a workhorse for the Indian Armed Forces. (Representational)

New Delhi:

Nearly a month after the army grounded its fleet of Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) ‘Dhruv’ after a chopper crash in Jammu and Kashmir’, the indigenous helicopters have been cleared for flight. The clearance is, however, conditional and the choppers have been permitted to only operate in “limited and emergency operations”, sources said.

Only those helicopters that have been thoroughly checked and fit for flight will be allowed to fly, according to sources. At present, the Army has about 145 Dhruv helicopters, the Air Force 70, the Navy 18 and the Coast Guard 20.

The clearance to restart the operations of the chopper would need to be given by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the manufacturer of the chopper, sources had earlier said.

On May 4, a technician was killed and two pilots were injured after an Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv with three people on board crashed following a “hard landing” in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kishtwar district. Following the accident, the army had grounded the entire fleet as per procedure.

A partial grounding of the choppers had earlier been done by the Navy and the Coast Guard for over a month after two accidents in March when an Indian Navy Dhruv made a forced landing in the Arabian Sea while a Coast Guard Dhruv made a forced landing moments after taking off from Kochi.

The Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter is a workhorse for the Indian Armed Forces. In use with the Army, it flies to extremely high altitudes to serve soldiers in the Siachen glacier and in Ladakh. In recent times, there have been concerns about mechanical defects and reliability in the forces.

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