Indian Army’s aviation base with its Heron drones is helping troops keep a hawk-eye on the Chinese activities along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the highly-sensitive Arunachal Pradesh sector.
The Army base is also equipped with other important assets, including the ALH Dhruv and its weaponised version Rudra, to enhance the capabilities of the forces on the ground at a time when India and China have been engaged in a military standoff since last year.
Explaining the capabilities of the Israel-origin Heron drones in detail, Major Karthik Garg said, “This is the most beautiful aircraft as far as surveillance resources are concerned. Since its inception, it has been the backbone of surveillance. It can climb up to 30,000 feet and continue to relay feed to commanders on the ground. So that, we can manoeuver forces on the ground. It has an endurance of 24- 30 hours at a stretch.”
Talking about surveillance during bad weather, Major Garg added, “We have day and night cameras and for bad weather, we have synthetic aperture radar which can give track of entire terrain.”
Describing the capability of Missamari Army Aviation Base, Lieutenant Colonel Amit Dadhwal said, “These rotary-wing platforms provide a plethora of capabilities so that you know they can achieve success in all kinds of operations. This aircraft is fully capable of carrying troops and full battle load to any kind of treacherous terrain, or in any kind of weather conditions. This lean and mean machine is made in India is made by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). This equipment and this aircraft are fully capable to carry out operations in.”
Speaking further about Dhruv, Lieutenant Colonel Dhadwal described the night evacuation capability and mentioned that the aircraft has been instrumental in saving over 50 lives in the sector through night casualty operations.
“Over a period of time, when we give you a general time of operation, we are fully capable of carrying out night casualty evacuations. The same aircraft has been further modified and weaponised into a more lethal version called ALH WSI – Advanced Light helicopter weapon system integrated – which is known as the Rudra helicopter. It is fully equipped with various mission systems as well as weapon systems onboard.”
Lieutenant Colonel Dadhwal spoke about the Cheetah and said that the helicopter has proved itself “for the past 50 years in the Indian Army”. “It has been one of the stable and more reliable aircraft of Indian army,” he said.