IAF develops locust control system for Mi-17 choppers

New Delhi, June 30 (IANS) The Indian Air Force has indigenously designed and developed an pesticide spraying tool for Mi-17 choppers — the Airborne Locust Control System (ALCS) — to save the country from locust attacks.

“The Chandigarh Base Repair Depot indigenously designed and developed the ALCS for Mi-17 helicopters,” said a top Air Force officer.

Anticipating repeated locust attacks in various states across the country, the Indian Agricultural Ministry had signed a contract with an UK based company in May 2000 to modify two Indian Air Force Mi-17 choppers for spraying atomised pesticide to arrest locust breeding.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK based firm was unable to manufacture and supply the modification kit to the IAF before September 2020 for system integration and testing.

Seeing the delay and an unprecedented locust attack across states, the IAF decided to develop the pesticide spraying kit.

The IAF tasked the Base Repair Depot located in Chandigarh to undertake the challenging task of indigenously designing and developing the ALCS for Mi-17 helicopters.

The nozzles used for the purpose are a mix of commercially available nozzles as well as nozzles developed by the CSIO, Chandigarh.

The pesticide Malathion in appropriate concentration will be filled in the internal auxiliary tank of 800 litre capacity fitted inside the helicopter and will be pumped into the nozzles by using an electrical pump as well as compressed air, achieving nearly 40 minutes of spaying duration in the infected zones covering an area of approximately 750 hectares in each mission.

A team of test pilots and test engineers of the Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment, Bengaluru, has successfully carried out ground and airborne trials, the force said.

The system is being offered for use with Malathion for locust control operations.

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, said the officer.

–IANS
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