On September 28, a total of 150 Indian army personnel were ferried into Pakistan occupied Kashmir territory for 'surgical strike' by home-grown Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv helicopters. The mission was to destroy seven terror launch pads and they accomplished it. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) were used to monitor the whole situation.
This was the first time Indian Army used Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Dhruv in an offensive operation. Dhruv, also known as the Pole Star made its first flight on 20 August 1992. The helicopter entered the service back in 2002.
So why did the army use the Dhruv for a high altitude attack?. That's a good question and here is the reason why.
Dhruv has shown superiority over other helicopters used by the army such as Cheetah and Chetak, and soon the Pole Star will replace these models.
Indian Army wants more of these customised ALH by HAL for high altitude operations like the latest ‘surgical strike.'
Chetak and Cheetah are both single-engined helicopters. Dhruv uses two Shakti turboshafts, each producing 1341bhp.
So a combined power 2682bhp is enough for the helicopter to do 290 km/h. It weighs around 3 tonne.
Army uses Mark 3 versions of the Dhruv and it specifically designed to work under extreme high altitude weather conditions.
ALH-WSI (Weapon System Integrated) is the armed version of Dhruv and is still being developed by HAL. The combat version is called Rudra and it is equipped with Forward Looking Infrared and Thermal Imaging Sights Interface.
Coming back to our topic Dhruv, HAL's chief helicopter test pilot, Unni Nair commented that the helicopter is designed to perform various roles like policing, urban surveillance, medical ambulance, etc.
The helicopter has certain packages like electronic warfare suite and warning systems, automatic chaff and flare dispensers. It also has vibration control system and it is developed by Lord Corporation of North Carolina.
The vibration control system uses sensors to monitor onboard conditions and output signals to actuators to cancel fuselage floor vibrations.
For making the helicopter light, the cockpit is made with kevlar and carbon-fibre. Dhruv also has four-axis automatic flight control system.
The high-tech navigation system is used including a global position system, a Doppler navigation system, distance measuring equipment, true air speed indicator, automatic direction finder, a heading reference system, radio altimeter, VHF omnidirectional range and instrument landing system and marker beacons.
Helicopters communication suite includes HF, UHF and VHF radio communications. The cost for all these equipment and the helicopter which is made by HAL in Bangalore is Rs 40 crores.
The armament which can be installed to the ALH are:
- 8 Anti-tank guided missiles
- 4 Air to air missiles
- 4 X 68mm Rocket Pods
- 2 Torpedos
- Depth charges or Anti-ship missiles
Currently, 76 helicopters had been delivered to army and air-force. So with all these technologies and its high reliability in extreme conditions; Dhruv is the best example for showing the world how good HAL engineering is.