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India strengthens air capabilities with 34 Advanced Light Helicopters Dhruv deal.

| Defense News Aerospace 2024

On March 15, 2024, the Indian Ministry of Defence signed a contract with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the acquisition of 34 Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) Dhruv, for a total amount of 80.73 billion rupees ($975.06 million). These helicopters are intended to be distributed between the Indian Army, which will receive 25 units, and the Indian Coast Guard, which will receive 9. The contract marks a significant step in India's effort to strengthen its defense capabilities and promote the independence of its military equipment production under the 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' initiative.
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India strengthens air capabilities with 34 Advanced Light Helicopters Dhruv dealIndia Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv (Picture source: Wikimedia)

The Dhruv is a twin-engine, fourteen-seat medium utility helicopter produced by the Indian manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Available with either wheeled or skid landing gear, the helicopter is designed for a variety of roles thanks to its operational flexibility. It can carry a crew of 2 and 12 to 14 passengers. The Dhruv is powered by two turboshaft engines, offering a choice between the Turbomeca Ardiden 3G, with a power of 1032 kW (1384 shp) per engine, or the Turbomeca/HAL TM 333 2B2, with a power of 825 kW (1106 shp) per engine.

The technical specifications of the Dhruv include a maximum speed of 300 km/h, an operational ceiling of 4500 meters, and a range of 659 km. Its empty weight is 3335 kg, with a maximum takeoff weight of 5500 kg. The helicopter has a main rotor diameter of 13.20 meters and a tail rotor diameter of 2.55 meters. The total length of the aircraft is 15.87 meters, with a height of 4.98 meters.

The maritime version of the Dhruv, primarily intended for the Indian Coast Guard, incorporates specific equipment for marine operations. These adaptations include advanced sensors for maritime surveillance, a patrol radar, as well as equipment for search and rescue missions at sea. This variant is designed to enhance the operational capabilities of the Coast Guard by providing versatile aerial support for a variety of maritime missions, thus underlining India's commitment to securing its vast maritime borders.

This contract with HAL underscores India's commitment to enhancing its national defense capabilities and supporting its local defense industry, in line with its policy of autonomy and strategic independence.

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