Investigation of the Army’s Advance Light Helicopter (ALH) Rudra, which crashed in Arunachal Pradesh’s Upper Siang district last week. After this, as a precaution, all the more than 300 ALH flights in the country have been banned. They are expected to fly again after two days after the security checks are completed. The bodies of all the five people, including both the pilots killed in the accident, have already been recovered.
On October 21, an Indian Army helicopter Rudra took off from Likabali in Upper Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh, but was 25 km from Tuting headquarters. A distant Singing has crashed near the village. There were 5 people on board, including 2 pilots, to locate them, a rescue operation was carried out with two ALHs of the Army and one Mi-17 helicopter of the Air Force. The crashed attack helicopter is the Weapon System Integrated (WSI) Mk-IV version of Dhruv. A Court of Inquiry was ordered to ascertain the cause of the incident.
Apart from two pilots, three other people were also on board in this helicopter. The bodies of all the people were recovered from the accident site within two days. According to official sources, preliminary investigation into the helicopter crash has suggested that the accident may have occurred due to engine-related problems. However, the exact cause of the crash of the Armed Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) will be determined by the Court of Inquiry (COI).
Meanwhile, the flight of all 300 plus ALHs comprising the fleet of the three services and the Indian Coast Guard have been suspended for security checks as a precautionary measure. Permission to fly again is expected only after the investigation is completed in two days. Apart from the engines of all the helicopters, other technical checks will be done. A senior official privy to the process said it is a purely precautionary measure and is done in case of a major accident.
Sources have revealed that the army’s investigation is expected to be completed by Saturday, while the IAF’s investigation is expected to be completed by Friday. A Defense Ministry spokesperson said in a statement on the incident that the weather was reported as good for helicopter operations prior to the flight, but the pilot reported a technical or mechanical fault to Air Traffic Control (ATC) immediately before the crash. The spokesman said this would be the focus of the Court of Inquiry, which was immediately constituted to investigate the cause of the accident.
Around 300 Advanced Light Helicopters (ALHs) in the fleet of the three Services and the Indian Coast Guard are flying a variety of types including Mark-I, Mark-II, Mark-3 and Mark-4, also known as Rudra Weapon System Integrated (ALH). Also called WSI). The ALH that crashed last week was the WSI variant. The Army operates over 145 indigenous ALHs, of which 75 are Rudra armed versions. Another 25 ALH Mark-3s are on order, which will be inducted within two years.
Both the pilots killed in the crash combined had more than 600 hours of flying experience on the ALH WSI variant. The crashed ALH WSI was inducted into service in June 2015. HAL Rudra also known as ALH-WSI is an armed version of HAL Dhruv utility helicopter designed and manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). 75 helicopters of the Indian Army are in service till June 2021 and orders have been placed for another 25 helicopters.