Indigenous airborne locust management system on Mi-17 helicopter

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In a bid to combat the locust assault menace, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has tasked the quantity three Base Repair Depot situated at Chandigarh to undertake the difficult job of indigenously designing and creating an Airborne Locust Control System (ALCS) for a Mi-17 helicopter. 

Earlier, anticipating a locust assault, the Ministry of Agriculture had signed a contract with a UK-based agency to switch two Mi-17 Helicopters for spraying atomized pesticide to arrest locust breeding. However, attributable to COVID-19 pandemic, M/s Micron, would have the ability to manufacture and provide the modification equipment to the IAF solely from September 2020 onward for system integration and testing.

In view of the envisaged delay in provisioning of modification kits, the Chandigarh base depot was entrusted with the duty. Using all indigenous parts, the atomized airborne spraying of pesticide has been efficiently achieved in air by way of a configuration of nozzles mounted each side on exterior trusses of a Mi-17 helicopter.

The nozzles used for the aim are a mixture of commercially obtainable nozzles in addition to the nozzles developed by CSIO, Chandigarh. The pesticide Malathion in applicable focus could be crammed within the inner Auxiliary tank of 800 litres capability fitted contained in the helicopter and pumped into the nozzles by utilizing {an electrical} pump in addition to compressed air, reaching nearly 40 minutes of spaying length within the contaminated zone protecting an space of approximately 750 hectares in every mission.

A group of Test Pilots and Test Engineers of Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment, Bangalore have efficiently carried out floor and airborne trials of ALCS on a modified Mi-17 helicopter.  The system is being supplied to be used with Malathion for employment within the locust management operation.

Being an indigenously developed system, the ALCS would provide inherent benefits of in-house upkeep, future upgradeability, saving of overseas alternate and assist in making the nation Self Reliant in aviation-related expertise.