– globalbihari bureau
New Delhi: In face of locust attack and the need to act quickly, the Indian Air Force got success in indigenously designing and developing an Airborne Locust Control System (ALCS) for Mi-17 helicopters, the Defence Ministry stated here on Tuesday.
The IAF took up this task after a delay in provisioning of modification kits by Britain’s M/s. Micron, which said that because of COVID-19 pandemic it could supply the kit only in September. The UK based firm was earlier contacted by the Ministry of Agriculture and the latter had signed a contract with it to modify two Mi-17 Helicopters for spraying atomized pesticide to arrest Locust breeding in May 2020. In the meanwhile, an unprecedented Locust attack started manifesting from last week of May that fast spread practically across many states. It was in this context that the Indian Air Force tasked No. 3 Base Repair Depot located at Chandigarh to undertake the challenging task of indigenously designing and developing an Airborne Locust Control System for Mi-17 helicopters.
“Using all indigenous components, the atomized airborne spraying of pesticide has been successfully achieved in air through a configuration of nozzles mounted both sides on external trusses of a Mi-17 helicopter. The nozzles used for the purpose are a mix of commercially available nozzles as well as the nozzles developed by CSIO, Chandigarh,” the Defence Ministry stated.
It added that the pesticide Malathion in appropriate concentration would be filled in the internal Auxiliary tank of 800 liters capacity fitted inside the helicopter and pumped into the nozzles by using an electrical pump as well as compressed air, achieving nearly 40 minutes of spaying duration in the infected zone covering an area of approximately 750 hectares in each mission.
A team of Test Pilots and Test Engineers of Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment, Bangalore have already successfully carried out ground and airborne trials of ALCS on a modified Mi-17 helicopter. The system is being offered for use with Malathion for employment in the locust control operation.
Being an indigenously developed system, the ALCS would offer inherent advantages of in-house maintenance, future upgradeability, saving of foreign exchange and help in making the country self reliant in aviation related technology, the ministry stated.