In a major push to further strengthen Coast Guard Area East, 840 Sqn (CG), Indian Coast Guard Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Mk-III was commissioned by DG Shri VS Pathania at ICG Air Station, Chennai on 30 November. , 2022. The commissioning of 840 Sqn (CG) marks a leap towards self-sufficiency in helicopter manufacturing in line with the government’s vision of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’. It will provide a major complement to the Indian Coast Guard’s capabilities in the security-sensitive waters off Tamil Nadu and the Andhra region.
Originally manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the ALH Mk-III helicopters are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment including advanced radar and electro-optical sensors, Shakti engines, all-glass cockpit, high intensity search light, advanced communication systems, automatic identification system as well as search and rescue homer. This capability enables the helicopter to conduct maritime reconnaissance as well as long-range search and rescue while operating from ships, both day and night.
The aircraft has the ability to switch roles from an attack platform with a heavy machine gun to a benign platform with a medical intensive care unit to facilitate the transfer of critically ill patients. A total of 16 ALH Mk-III aircraft have been progressively inducted into the Indian Coast Guard and four of these aircraft are based in Chennai. Since incorporation, the squadron has flown more than 430 hours and conducted a number of operational missions.