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HAL to replace key component of Dhruv ALH following recent crashes

The state-owned aviation major, sources said, would replace an aluminium-made control rod in the gear box with a steel made one
alyan Ray
Last Updated : 14 May 2023, 17:34 IST
Last Updated : 14 May 2023, 17:34 IST
Last Updated : 14 May 2023, 17:34 IST
Last Updated : 14 May 2023, 17:34 IST

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Following three accidents in quick succession, Bengaluru-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has decided to replace a key component of the Dhruv Advanced Lightweight Helicopter to enhance the fatigue tolerance of the made-in-India chopper, that serves as the rotary-wing mainstay for the Indian armed forces.

The state-owned aviation major, sources said, would replace an aluminium-made control rod in the gear box with a steel made one. This will increase the fatigue tolerance of the copter and better control of the aircraft by the pilots.

The decision to make the change, suggested by a regulatory panel, comes close on the heels of three ALH crashes on March 8 (Navy), March 26 (Coast Guard) and May 4 (Army). More than 335 ALH have been produced so far, of which nearly 300 are in service with the three armed forces.

The last accident involving an Army Aviation chopper led to the death of one soldier and injury to two persons. The Navy and the Coast Guard had grounded their respective ALH Dhruv fleets in March following two similar incidents involving the platform.

The Indian Air Force that operates around 70 ALH is clearing its choppers for flying in batches. The aircraft that have undergone the tests are continuing with operations while the rest will be cleared for flying after completion of the same.

Officials at HAL asserted that the ALH had an outstanding safety record as it had flown more than 3,75,000 flying hours in the last two decades and the metallurgical changes in the control rod of the gearbox were being carried out to further improve the aircraft performance.

The multi-role, multi-mission 5.5 tonne helicopter has proven its mettle in various utility roles including lifesaving missions during natural calamities in India and abroad. New Delhi pitches it as one of the defence export items.

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Published 14 May 2023, 17:32 IST

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