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Indian Coast Guard to get 30 new helicopters

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Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter

NEW DELHI (PTI): To augment the Indian Coast Guard's capabilities, the government has given its nod for procuring 30 new medium and heavy-lift helicopters for the maritime security force.

In addition to the 30 choppers, four new indigenously made Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopters (ALHs) and eight surveillance helicopters will be acquired by the force. The surveillance choppers will be leased from foreign companies.

"The Government has sanctioned 30 more new helicopters and that acquisition process is on...The choppers will be acquired through a global tender by us in next four-five years," ICG Director General Vice Admiral Anil Chopra said Monday.

Of the 30 helicopters, 16 would be medium-lift class and the remaining would be in the heavy-lift category, ICG officials said.

On the problems faced by the ICG in leasing choppers, Chopra said, "For the first time, the Defence ministry is leasing helicopters. There are many areas where there are legalities involved in leasing the choppers. They are being looked at carefully and, therefore, the process is taking a little longer than normal but is very much on way."

On the induction of other new choppers in the service, he said the force will receive one ALH by March along with four Dornier planes, which are set to join it by April this year.

Chopra said the surveillance capabilities of the existing fleet of 24 Dorniers is also undergoing upgrades and is being equipped with advanced radars, automated identification systems and infra-red sensors.

Under its expansion plans, the ICG is looking to have a fleet of 100 aircraft by the year 2020.

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