Lieutenant Commander Bhaskar Rajvanshi was honoured with a gallantry medal by the Indian Navy for his exceptional professionalism and bravery. He successfully recovered an advanced light helicopter (ALH) from a catastrophic control failure, marking a significant achievement in naval aviation history. This incident, occurring on March 8, 2023, represents the first documented case of a safe recovery from a collective control failure emergency within the entire DHRUV Chopper fleet across all services.

The incident unfolded as the DHRUV MK-III-MR helicopter, designated IN 709, was transitioning from the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant to Mumbai. With three personnel onboard and flying at an altitude of 500 ft above mean sea level, the aircraft experienced an un-commanded loss of collective power, leading to a rapid descent without any prior warning. Despite the dire circumstances and his limited flying experience, Lt Cdr Rajvanshi managed to manoeuvre the helicopter to safety, preventing a potential disaster.

His actions not only saved lives but also preserved an asset valued at over ₹100 crore. The successful recovery has facilitated a thorough investigation into the failure, allowing for corrective measures to be implemented across the ALH fleet. For his extraordinary efforts, Lt Cdr Rajvanshi's citation for the Nao Sena Medal Gallantry highlighted his unparalleled courage and presence of mind under pressure.

During a ceremony at INS Hansa in Goa, attended by Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar, three other officers were also awarded the Nao Sena Medal Gallantry. These included Cdr Manish Singh Karki, Lt Cdr Panneerselvam Vishnu Prasanna, and Cdr Kaustab Banerjee, each recognized for their distinct acts of bravery and professionalism.

Lt Cdr P V Prasanna was commended for leading a challenging salvage mission in January 2023 to recover a submerged aircraft from a depth of 219 metres. His exceptional competence and courage under demanding conditions were duly noted in his citation.

In June 2022, Cdr Banerjee undertook a daring mission to assist a disabled platform being towed at sea. Flying a Seaking 42 C aircraft over 250 nautical miles in marginal conditions without any diversion options available showcased his bravery and professional excellence. This mission marked a first in naval aviation history, further emphasizing the gallant efforts of these officers.

The DHRUV is an indigenous aircraft developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, playing a crucial role in India's defence capabilities. The recognition of these officers underscores the Indian Navy's commitment to excellence and bravery in safeguarding national security.

(With Inputs From Agencies)