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Indian MoD orders 34 Advanced Light Helicopters

The HAL Dhruv ALH has become a mainstay of the Indian Army's rotary-wing capabilities. In this image, an Indian Army Dhruv hovers as Australian Army troops from the 13th Brigade conduct a drill in India in 2022. (Commonwealth of Australia)

The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has signed a contract with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to acquire 34 Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) Dhruv Mk IIIs.

The INR80.7 billion (USD973.8 million) contract was announced on 13 March and covers 25 ALH Dhruv Mk IIIs for the Indian Army with role-specific equipment and nine for the Indian Coast Guard (ICG), according to the Indian MoD.

Janes understands that the 34 helicopters will be delivered in batches from later this year. “The deliveries will be staggered. We expect all deliveries to be completed by 2026–27,” an industry source told Janes on 15 March.

The contract for the 34 helicopters was signed within a week of India's Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approving the requested acquisition on 7 March.

The Dhruv Mk IIIs to be supplied to the army are the utility version of the helicopter. The MoD said these helicopters will be used in roles such as “search and rescue (SAR), troop transportation, … cargo [hauler], reconnaissance, and casualty evacuation”. The MoD said that the Dhruvs are capable of deployment and operation in high-altitude regions such as the Siachen Glacier and Ladakh.

The Dhruv Mk IIIs for the ICG will be delivered for maritime operations, the MoD said.

The ministry added that this sub-variant of the helicopter is designed for maritime surveillance and interdiction, SAR, rappelling operations, cargo carrying, personnel transportation, pollution response using external cargo-carrying capability, and evacuations of medical casualties.

For additional information on the Advanced Light Helicopter, please seeHAL Dhruv.

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