The Indian Air Force (IAF) has indigenously designed and developed a pesticide spraying tool for Mi-17 choppers- the Airborne Locust Control System (ALCS) to fight repeated locust attacks. The Chandigarh Base Repair Depot has developed the ALCS for Mi-17 helicopters, informed a top Air Force officer to ANI.
As the country is witnessing locust attacks in various states, the Indian Agricultural Ministry had signed a contract with a UK based company to modify two Indian Air Force Mi-17 choppers for spraying atomised pesticide to arrest locust breeding. However, this was delayed due to the COVID-19 situation and UK based firm was unable to manufacture and supply the modification kit to the IAF before September 2020 for system integration and testing.
In order to find a quicker solution to the locust menace, the IAF tasked the 3BRD 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
The force further informed that a team of test pilots and test engineers of the Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment, Bengaluru, has successfully carried out ground and airborne trials.
(With inputs from agency)