Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter

Context: India’s Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC) has called for a design review of a “safety-critical system” on the Dhruv advanced light helicopter, which has been involved in several accidents.

About Dhruv ALH: 

  • The Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) is a multi-role helicopter in the 5.5-tonne class.
  • It is designed to meet both military and civilian requirements and has been in service since 2002. The helicopter is operated by the Army, air force, navy, and coast guard. 
  • It is a twin-engine helicopter that can carry up to 14 passengers, including two pilots. It is equipped with a range of advanced avionics and sensors, including a glass cockpit, digital autopilot, and weather radar.
  • Utility: Dhruv ALH has been used in a variety of roles, including:
    • Search and rescue, medical evacuation, troop transport, and cargo transport
    • Disaster relief and humanitarian aid missions. 
  • The helicopter has been exported to several countries, including Nepal, Mauritius, and Ecuador.
  • Designed and developed by: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
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Need for the review:

  • The regulatory body has ordered an expert panel to review the system to improve its airworthiness. The call for the design review comes on the back of the ALH’s troubling safety record (In the past five years, it has been involved in 12 accidents). 
  • The design review is critical as the Indian armed forces operate more than 300 multi-role ALHs.  

Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification: 

  • CEMILAC is a regulatory body under the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), vested with the responsibility of Airworthiness certification of military Aircraft, Helicopter, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), Aero-engines, Air launched weapons and other Airborne stores.
  • CEMILAC also works closely with the Indian aerospace industry to promote indigenous development and manufacture of military aircraft and systems.

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