On air maintenance sortie a helicopter of the 203 Army Aviation Squadron had crashed at about 17,000 feet near the Khanda post in January and was abandoned at that height to its fate. The machine had developed a snag, and was forced to land in snow where due to heavy snow overnight, it fell sideways. There was no hope of it being taken back to the base camp.
This has been termed as one of the major feats carried out by the Indian Army’s Aviation Corp.
Sources in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) while confirming this told FE Online: “This is the first time that repairs of this scale have been carried out. Earlier engines and blades of the helicopters have been changed before.”
From February on wards, plans were made to get back the machine and a detailed plan was made. At the end of several rounds of inspections by the Indian Army’s Army Aviation Squadron concluded that it could be repaired and after getting approval from the Commanding Officer of the 14 Corps, the repair plans were initiated.
This was the first time the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) `Dhruv’ was repaired at the glacier before being flown back to the base camp.
“New parts for the repairs were sourced from the base at Leh and repairs were carried out by trained and dedicated technicians,” he added.
A team after undertaking a 15 day journey surviving extreme weather conditions reached the spot to carry out the repairs. Due to extreme weather conditions, the widow for carrying out the repairs daily was barely for an hour, when the team managed to fix the problems and made it operational.
According to officials, this is the first ever a machine has been retrieved and repaired. This is also the first time a helicopter has been repaired, though over the years at least 40 helicopters have gone down.