NEW DELHI: Indian Naval Air Squadron 323 (INAS 323), Navy’s first unit of the indigenously-built Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Mk III, was commissioned at INS Hansa, Goa.
Speaking on the occasion, junior Defence Minister Shripad Naik, said “The commissioning of INAS 323 marked yet another milestone in the efforts towards enhancing maritime security and safeguarding maritime interests of the nation. It also embodies the spirit of Atma Nirbhar Bharat.” Vice Admiral R Hari Kumar, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Western Naval Command was present on the occasion.
Commander Samik Nundy is the commissioning Commanding Officer of INAS 323. He is an accomplished ALH pilot with extensive operational experience. The squadron will operate three state-of-the-art ALH Mk III.
In all, 16 aircraft are under procurement and the aircraft are being delivered in a phased manner to the Indian Navy. It is a multirole helicopter with a Shakti engine manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The Mk III version of the ALH has an all-glass cockpit and will be used for Search and Rescue, Special Operations and Coastal Surveillance.
India is trying to decrease its dependency on imported weapons and equipment by making changes to policies to support purchases from domestic manufacturers. Marking a major shift this year the Defence Ministry has decided to earmark around 64% (Rs 70,000 crore) of its modernisation funds under the capital acquisition budget for 2021-22 for procurement from the Indian manufacturers.