The Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 324 was commissioned into the Indian Navy on Monday at INS Dega, Visakhapatnam in the presence of Vice-Admiral Biswajit Dasgupta, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command.
The unit is the first Naval Squadron on the Eastern Seaboard operating the indigenously built and designed Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) MK III (MR) helicopters. INAS 324 squadron has been named ‘Kestrels’, after a bird species that has good sensory capabilities, symbolising the role envisaged of the aircraft and the air squadron.
The ALH MK III helicopters are said to be fitted with state-of-art equipment which includes surveillance radar and electro-optical sensors.
Addressing the gathering at Visakhapatnam, Vice Admiral Biswajit Dasgupta stated that the commissioning of the first Indian Navy ALH MK III Squadron in the Eastern Naval Command will enhance the surveillance capability on the Eastern Seaboard.
According to the officials, the induction of these helicopters is a part of the initiative of Atma Nirbhar Bharath, as they have been manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). In addition, these helicopters can also be deployed for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Management (HADR) operations and for special operations with the Marine Commandos (Marcos).
They can also be deployed for airborne Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) as an air ambulance, to facilitate the medical evacuation of critically ill patients. INAS 324 is commanded by Cdr S.S. Dash, an experienced ALH qualified flying instructor with extensive operational experience.
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