IAF tweaks its Mi-17 copters for locust fight

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 01, 2020 Published on July 01, 2020

An Mi-17 helicopter of the IAF   -  THE HINDU

Indigenous system tested will spray the pesticide Malathion to contain the pests


To overcome difficulties faced in locust-control operations due to inordinate delays in receiving kits that can be mounted on Indian helicopters, the Indian Air Force has indigenously designed and developed an Airborne Locust Control System (ALCS) for Mi-17 helicopters.

The system, developed by IAF’s No. 3 Base Repair Depot in Chandigarh, which specialises in maintenance of Mi-17 copters, was successfully tested by a team of test pilots and engineers of the Bengaluru-based Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment by carrying out ground and airborne trials of ALCS on the modified Mi-17 helicopter, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.


“Using all indigenous components, the atomised 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 (A Council of Scientific and Industrial Research lab based in Chandigarh),” the statement said.

The pesticide Malathion in appropriate concentration would be filled in the internal Auxiliary tank of 800 litres 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, it said.

Anticipating locust attacks, the Ministry of Agriculture had signed a contract with M/s Micron, UK to modify two Mi-17 Helicopters to spray atomised pesticide to arrest locust breeding, in May. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK-based firm is not in a position to manufacture and supply the modification kit to the IAF before September for system integration and testing. In the meanwhile, an unprecedented locust attack started in the last week of May and was fast spreading across many States, the Defence Ministry said.

The system is being offered for use with Malathion for deployment in locust-control operations, the Ministry said, adding that ALCS will offer inherent advantages of in-house maintenance, future upgradeability, and savings on foreign exchange as it is an indigenously developed system.

Published on July 01, 2020
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