The Indian Coast Guard has proposed to induct 38 more aircraft and helicopters into its fleet by 2020.To boost its surveillance and search and rescue capabilities. The expansion plan will see the maritime security force acquire Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH), Twin-engine Helicopters and Maritime Multi-mission Surveillance Aircraft (MMSA). The Coast Guard at present has a fleet of 62 airplanes and helicopters.
In the next three-four months, it is going to sign a contract with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for procuring 16 ALHs according to media reports .
It is also exploring options to buy 14 twin-engine heavy helicopters. The Coast Guard is eyeing Airbus’s Eurocopeter but it may take a couple of years to actually acquire these as a proposal in this regard is pending with the Ministry of Defence.
Air assets have often played a crucial role in the Indian Coast Guard’s operations. When the suspicious Pakistani boat carrying explosives blew itself up on the night of December 31, 2014, off the Gujarat coast, the operation was conducted jointly by the air and sea wings of the maritime security force.
The need to modernise the maritime security arose after the deadly 26/11 Mumbai attacks in 2008. Taking no further chances the Indian coast guard is leaving no stone unturned to enhance its security and ward off any terror threat from the sea.