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Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), India’s leading aerospace and defence company, is engaged in discussions with the Philippines regarding the potential sale of 20 ALH-Dhruv helicopters. This move signifies a significant step in the expansion of HAL’s footprint in the international market.

HAL Chairman and Managing Director, CB Ananthakrishnan, has confirmed that talks are in progress, highlighting the growing interest in Indian-made helicopters from abroad. People familiar with the matter have said that the Philippines is looking to procure Maritime variants for SAR and Marine Reconnaissance (MR) missions of the ALH-Dhruv Helicopters.

The Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv, developed by HAL, has proven to be a versatile and reliable platform. Its journey began in 1984, with the first Dhruv taking to the skies in 1992. Designed to meet the needs of both military and civil operators, the Dhruv was officially inducted into service in 2002. Military variants of the Dhruv include transport, utility, reconnaissance, and medical evacuation versions.

For nearly two decades, the Indian Navy and Coast Guard have relied on the ALH-Dhruv for a wide range of missions. These helicopters have played a crucial role in supporting maritime operations, search and rescue (SAR) missions, and marine reconnaissance. Their performance and reliability in demanding conditions have made them an essential asset in safeguarding India’s maritime interests.

One challenge that the Indian Navy faced was the size of the ALH-Dhruv when deployed on ships. The stowage requirements for these helicopters exceeded the available hangar space on many naval vessels. However, HAL has developed a solution to address this issue with the ALH-Dhruv (wheeled version).

The key innovation in the ALH-Dhruv (wheeled version) is the segmented blade feature. This advancement reduces the folded length and width of the helicopter, making it compatible with the available hangar space on most Indian Navy ships. The time required for folding and unfolding operations is also significantly reduced, ensuring seamless ship deck operations.

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