The country's first indigenous chopper, Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH -Dhruv), designed, developed, produced and maintained by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) to meet the requirements of military and civil operators, today achieved a new milestone of clocking one lakh cumulative flying hours.
The landmark was achieved early in the day today by the IA 3104 of 301 Army Aviation Squadron (Spl Ops).
"It is a proud moment for us that Dhruv has proved its mettle over the years. India is the sixth nation in the world to have the capability to develop helicopters of this class.
"One lakh hours flown by the machine is an awesome feat to achieve. It is a dream machine for any pilot", said Lt Col Kapil Agarwal who completed the landmark flying hours.
ALH is being operated by the Indian Air Force, Indian Army, Indian Navy, Coast Guard, BSF and state governments since 2002, said an HAL statement.
Currently, more than 132 Dhruv helicopters are serving the Indian Defence Forces. HAL has also built 12 civil variant Dhruv helicopters and they are being used by its customers.
According to Bangalore-headquartered HAL, Dhruv is extremely useful to the Indian defence forces in meeting the arduous tasks in the terrains of Himalayas like Siachen Glacier and Kashmir.
It played a key role in rescue operations after the tsunami (2004), flash floods at Leh (2010), earthquake at Sikkim (2011) and the biggest ever helicopter based rescue operation undertaken by Indian defence forces in flood and rain-hit areas of Uttarakhand recently, the defence PSU said.
ALH Dhruv is an all-weather helicopter which can carry 10-16 people at heights of 10,000 feet. It is a multi-role, multi-mission new generation helicopter in the 5.5 tonne weight class and meets Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) specifications, the company said.
HAL said Dhruv has demonstrated its capability in long distance flights, vertical climb and in maneuvering.
The advanced technology features incorporated in the design of Dhruv include hinge-less main rotor and bearing-less tail rotor, integrated dynamic system encompassing main gear box and upper controls in a single housing, higher powered Shakti engines, integrated architecture display system (glass cockpit), duplex automatic flight control system and redundancy with twin-engine, dual hydraulics and controls.
It also has advanced avionics (communication, navigation & surveillance) and mission systems.
"All this makes Dhruv, a versatile multi-mission, multi-role helicopter capable of operating in all-weather and extreme climatic conditions with high degree of reliability and survivability", the statement said.