The Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv, manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), stands as a testament to India’s indigenous aerospace capabilities. This versatile helicopter has earned a reputation for its robustness and exceptional safety record, making it a reliable workhorse for a variety of missions.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) officials have addressed concerns regarding recent crashes involving the ALH Dhruv helicopter. It has been confirmed that the crashes were not attributed to the aluminum control rods, which are set to be replaced with steel rods as a precautionary safety measure. Instead, two of the incidents were found to be related to other maintenance issues.
Furthermore, HAL officials highlighted the remarkable performance of the ALH Dhruv fleet over the years. In the last 18 years, the fleet has accumulated an impressive four lakh (400,000) flying hours. Notably, the last two lakh (200,000) flying hours were achieved within the past four to five years, indicating the growing utilization and operational efficiency of the helicopter.
According to government data released in 2016, there were a total of sixteen accidents involving the ALH Dhruv helicopter since its introduction in 2002. Out of these accidents, two incidents involved civilian variants, while five occurred in Ecuador, a country that had procured seven Dhruv helicopters. Based on the information provided, it can be calculated that there have been 11 crashes per 1 lakh (100,000) flying hours for the ALH Dhruv helicopter.
The Minister of State for Defence at the time, Rao Inderjit Singh, provided a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, indicating the causes of these accidents. According to Singh’s statement, twelve out of the sixteen accidents were attributed to human error and environmental factors. These factors could include pilot error, adverse weather conditions, or other environmental challenges that impacted the safe operation of the helicopter.
The remaining four accidents were determined to be caused by technical reasons. These technical issues could range from mechanical failures to equipment malfunctions or other technical deficiencies that affected the helicopter’s performance.