Coast Guard to get 30 new helicopters

New Delhi, Jan 31 (PTI) To augment the Indian CoastGuard''s capabilities, the government has given its nod forprocuring 30 new medium and heavy-lift helicopters for themaritime security force.

In addition to the 30 choppers, four new indigenouslymade Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopters (ALHs) and eightsurveillance helicopters will be acquired by the force. Thesurveillance choppers will be leased from foreign companies.

"The Government has sanctioned 30 more new helicoptersand that acquisition process is on...The choppers will beacquired through a global tender by us in next four-fiveyears," ICG Director General Vice Admiral Anil Chopra saidhere today.

Of the 30 helicopters, 16 would be medium-lift classand the remaining would in the heavy-lift category, ICGofficials said here.

On the problems faced by the ICG in leasing choppers,Chopra said, "For the first time, the Defence ministry isleasing helicopters. There are many areas where there arelegalities involved in leasing the choppers. They are beinglooked at carefully and, therefore, the process is taking alittle 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 withfour Dorniers planes, which are set to join it by April thisyear.

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

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

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