Uttarakhand floods: ‘HAL copters played key role in rescue operations’
Bangalore: HAL-made helicopters — Dhruv, Cheetah/Chetak — have played a pivotal role in the biggest-ever helicopter-based rescue operations carried out by the Indian defence forces in the flood and rain-hit areas of Uttarakhand.
“These copters deployed over flood and landslide affected areas in Uttarakhand performed effectively in dropping paratroopers, evacuating stranded people and in supply of food and medicines,” said Dr RK Tyagi, Chairman, HAL. HAL teams were positioned at Dehradun and Delhi to ensure logistics support for the rescue operations.
‘Dhruv, which can carry 16 passengers, was the star performer. On many occasions, due to incessant rain, IAF pilots could only use Dhruv as it was unsafe for other copters to land,” explained Tyagi. Dhruv helicopters flew for nearly 630 hours during the operation and Cheetah/Chetak flew 520 hours.
“The indigenised helicopters pressed into service by the Army and the Air Force in the flood-hit areas have proved their mettle in carrying out rescue and relief operations in highly inaccessible areas. We are proud of it”, said Tyagi.
HAL designed, developed and produced Dhruv helicopters have been delivered to the Indian Army, Air Force, Navy and the Coast Guard. They are also exported. The civil version of Dhruv has been certified by the DGCA and delivered to ONGC, Govt of Jharkand and the BSF.