Indian Coast Guard's Dhruv MK-III advanced light helicopter

THE Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) showed interest in procuring military equipment, including Advance Light Helicopters (ALHs) DHRUV, designed and developed by Indian defence firms.

This came to light following the visit of a five-member PCG delegation to New Delhi last week. The team, headed by PCG Commandant Admiral Artemio Manalo Abu, held a bilateral meeting with the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) to enhance maritime cooperation.

The PCG delegation witnessed the operational capabilities of indigenous Indian ships and aircraft, including that of the ICG DHRUV MK-III.

Developed and manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the DHRUV MK III helicopters are fitted with state-of-the-art equipment such as modern surveillance radar and electro-optical sensors, Shakti engines, full-glass cockpit, high-intensity searchlight, advanced communication systems, automatic identification system as well as search-and-rescue homer.

These features enable the helicopter to undertake maritime reconnaissance as well as carry out search and rescue at extended ranges while operating from ships, day or night.

The PCG delegation also visited the ICG Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) Sujeet and witnessed the multi-role capabilities of the ship.

Entirely designed in-house by the Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL), the OPV has been part of the ICG fleet and is used for the protection of India's territorial waters.

The Philippine Navy has already purchased three batteries of the BrahMos shore-based anti-ship missile system (SBASMS) which will be the primary weapon of the Coastal Defence Regiment (CDR), a newly formed unit of the Philippine Marine Corps.

The acquisition of the BrahMos is part of a $375 million deal inked by India's BrahMos Aerospace and the Philippine government in January 2022.

The BrahMos is considered the world's fastest anti-ship supersonic cruise missile, capable of flying at nearly three times the speed of sound and can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft or land.

Abu signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Director General of the Indian Coast Guard Rakesh Pal that seeks to enhance the professional linkage between the two Coast Guards in Maritime Law Enforcement, Maritime Search and Rescue and Marine Pollution Response as they work on the shared objectives and approaches to the security environment in the Indo-Pacific region.

The PCG commandant also met Indian Navy Chief Admiral Hari Kumar during the signing of a standard operating procedure (SOP) for the exchange of white shipping information with the Indian Navy.

The SOP will facilitate the operationalization of information exchange on merchant shipping traffic, which will contribute to enhanced maritime safety and security in the region.