IAF seeks 200 advanced night vision goggles for Dhruv and Mi-17 helicopters : The Tribune India

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IAF seeks 200 advanced night vision goggles for Dhruv and Mi-17 helicopters

The new third-generation variant NVGs are to be procured only from indigenous sources

IAF seeks 200 advanced night vision goggles for Dhruv and Mi-17 helicopters

Photo used for representational purpose only. iStock



Tribune News Service

Vijay Mohan

Chandigarh, October 26

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has projected a requirement for about 200 advanced night vision goggles (NVGs) for its fleet of Russian Mi-17V5 and indigenous Dhruv helicopters, which is aimed at enhancing their operational capability.

Categorised as critical equipment for undertaking flying operations in the dark, the new third-generation variant NVGs are to be procured only from indigenous sources, IAF officers said.

The IAF’s Mi-17s are already equipped with Russian NVGs, which are to be replaced with indigenously developed devices and No.3 Base Repair Depot at Chandigarh has been tasked to execute the project.

NVG is a helmet-mounted electro-optical device based on image intensifier technology that allows images to be produced even when the level of light is approaching total darkness. NVGs can intensify ambient light to over a thousand times and can function effectively in minimal moonlight or even starlight.

By increasing the aircrew’s situational awareness due to improved visibility in the dark and reducing reliance on cockpit instruments. These enable the crew to spot and identify objects that were not possible to see when flying un-aided., thereby enhancing manoeuvrability and navigation, facilitating better air-to-ground tactics and enhancing mission effectiveness.

The IAF operates about 150 Mi-17V5 medium lift helicopters and about 100 Hindustan Aeronautics Limited produced Dhruv utility helicopters in addition to 16 Rudra, the weaponised variant of Dhruv.

According to IAF sources, an initial requirement of 200 NVGs has been projected as the entire fleet would not be undertaking night flying in one go. Future procurements would depend upon operational requirements as well as the feasibility of adapting the indigenous NVGs to other helicopters with the IAF.

The NVGs have to be compatible with the helicopter’s cockpit instruments and operating parameters. The specifications listed out by the IAF require the NVGs to be light weight and operate at temperatures from minus 40 degrees Celsius to 60 degrees Celsius, sources said.

These should be mountable on the existing Gallet and Shakti helmets used by the IAF as well as a new universal helmet for helicopter pilots being designed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation.

The IAF began using NVGs in helicopters in 2002 for operation flying such as special heli-borne operations, troop deployment, search and rescue and communication. It carried out its first night rescue in 2007, when it evacuated two injured soldiers, one of them with a serious head injury, in the north-east.

 

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