In response to the third crash of the Dhruv advanced light helicopter in the last three months, the Bengaluru-based Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC), a government regulatory body, has called for a comprehensive design review of a “safety-critical system” on the helicopter.

Despite claims from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) that the helicopter has a stable and mature design, a complete audit of the helicopter’s systems, including its safety-critical components, may reveal weaknesses in the aircraft’s design. Such a review may also cast doubt on HAL’s earlier statement that the incident involving the navy ALH on March 8 was due to a technical failure resulting from an error in the assembly of serrated washers in the booster control rods.

The recent crashes have raised concerns over the safety of the Dhruv advanced light helicopter, which is widely used by the Indian military and paramilitary forces for a range of operations. In addition to the March 8 incident involving the navy ALH, there have been two other crashes of Dhruv helicopters in the past three months, including one in Arunachal Pradesh in February and another in Tamil Nadu in March.

Given the importance of the Dhruv helicopter to India’s military and paramilitary forces, it is imperative that any design flaws or weaknesses are identified and addressed as soon as possible. The design review ordered by CEMILAC is a step in the right direction and will hopefully lead to improvements in the safety and reliability of the helicopter. It remains to be seen, however, whether the audit will confirm or refute HAL’s claims about the cause of the March 8 incident and whether the crash was due to a technical failure or other factors.