Prime Minister Narendra Modi today handed over an indigenous Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) — Dhruv — built by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to the Prime Minister of Nepal Sushil Koirala at Kathmandu. The copter will be used by the Nepalese Army.
“This is in line with PM’s thrust on ‘Make in India’ and the government’s policy of neighbourhood,” said R K Tyagi, Chairman, HAL. The company’s technical support team is positioned at Kathmandu to provide maintenance and logistics support. Earlier, India had supplied two Dhruv helicopters to Nepalese Army in November last year, added Tyagi.
Dhruv helicopter in the Mark-III version with Shakti engines, glass cockpit and avionics would benefit Nepal, as it has a mountainous terrain and adverse environmental conditions.
The helicopter has a proven track record in both military and civil operations. It is designed to meet the requirements of both military and civil operators. Dhruv has also been exported to Ecuador, Mauritius and Maldives. The Ecuador Air Force (FAE) operates five Dhruv helicopters with their president choosing to fly in one of them. Dhruv is, according to HAL, particularly useful in meeting the arduous tasks in difficult terrains.
Dhruv is a multi-role, multi-mission new generation helicopter in the 5.5 tonne weight class and meets the US’s Federal Aviation Authority specifications. It has demonstrated its capability in long distance flights, vertical climb and manoeuvring. Dhruv is an all-weather helicopter which can carry 10-16 people at heights of 10,000 feet.
The helicopter, which can cost anywhere between Rs 60-80 crore depending on the customisation, is currently exported to at least three other countries, including the Maldives and Ecuador.