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Two ALH accidents in three weeks raises questions about safety

The ICG has reported its first crash of an ALH Mk III helicopter. The coast guard completed the acquisition of all 16 Mk IIIs ordered from HAL in November 2022. (Janes/Prathamesh Karle)

The crash of a second Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv in three weeks has raised questions about the operational safety of the aircraft.

On 26 March, an ALH Mk III helicopter (serial No CG-855) in service with the Indian Coast Guard (ICG), crashed shortly after take-off from Kochi airport in southern India, where the ICG has a base.

A statement issued by the ICG to the Indian media said that the helicopter took off at about 1225 h local time for “inflight checks” following the installation of “control rods” on the aircraft. A video of the take-off shows that the ALH began to lose control shortly after take-off.

“Immediately after take-off, when CG-855 was at about 30–40 ft above ground, the cyclic controls did not respond,” the ICG said.

The ICG said in its statement that the HAL and ICG teams had conducted “extensive and satisfactory ground trials” of CG-855 “prior to inflight checks”. The ICG added that the pilot of the aircraft was able to “cushion the landing”, and said that there were no fatalities in the crash. The ICG had not responded to Janes request for comment at the time of publication.

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