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Is the Philippines Set to Acquire India's ALH Dhruv After the BrahMos?

© AP Photo / Vincent ThianThe Sarang Helicopter Display Team of the Indian Air Force (IAF) fly modified HAL Dhruv helicopters, also known as Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), during the Singapore Airshow
The Sarang Helicopter Display Team of the Indian Air Force (IAF) fly modified HAL Dhruv helicopters, also known as Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), during the Singapore Airshow - Sputnik India, 1920, 24.05.2024
According to experts, India aims to become a net exporter of military equipment, with a focus on neighboring regions. Following the provision of BrahMos missiles to the Philippines, the next strategic step is for the Philippines to acquire ALH Dhruv helicopters.
A delegation consisting of representatives from the Philippine Navy, Coast Guard, and Department of Defence visited INS Shakti and interacted with the crew in charge of operating the domestically manufactured Advanced Light Helicopters, according to the Indian Navy Tuesday's announcement on X (formerly known as Twitter).
The purpose of the visit is to bolster naval cooperation and interoperability between the navies of India and the Philippines, as stated in a press release from the Indian Ministry of Defence.
The reason behind the deployment of the Indian Navy's to the Philippines is India’s ambition to become a military equipment exporter in the region, Vice Marshal Anil Golani (Retd), Director General of Centre for Air Power Studies told Sputnik India.

"India aims to become a net exporter of military equipment, particularly in the neighbouring regions, aligning with like-minded partners," he underlined.

He believes, that having already supplied the Philippines with BrahMos missiles, the next strategic move entails the Philippines acquiring ALH (Advanced Light Helicopter) Dhruv helicopters.
The Philippines is actively seeking security and stability due to ongoing tension in the region and India is viewed as a reliable partner in this regard, Golani stressed.
The enhanced cooperation between the Philippine Navy, Coast Guard, and India's defence sector will pave the way for India to emerge as a leading defence exporter, not just to the Philippines, but to other countries in the region as well.

"The Philippines has expressed interest in various variants of the ALH, excluding the combat helicopter and focusing more on the multi-mission passenger configurations, which can be adapted as needed. The ALH Dhruv is a well-established platform which has been used for decades and is utilized by the Army, Coast Guard, and Navy," Commodore R Seshadri Vasan (Retd), Director General of the Chennai Centre of China Studies shared with Sputnik India.

This interest reflects a gradual evolution in Philippine's defence procurement strategy, seeking capabilities beyond their immediate zone, according to the expert.
Vasan mentioned that the ALH Dhruv Mk III Maritime Role is equipped for Maritime Surveillance, Interdiction, Search and Rescue Operations, Rappelling, Cargo and Personnel Transport, and Pollution Response. Furthermore, the vehicle can carry external cargo and conduct medical evacuations from remote or isolated areas, he added.
Moreover, the ALH has shown itself to be cost-effective compared to its Western rivals, remaining competitively priced while maintaining a high level of competence, he argued. Vasan stressed that ALH Dhruv’s availability and survivability in battle situations are notably high, making it an attractive option for the Philippines' military needs.
If discussions between operators at various levels lead to a positive impression and alignment with requirements, it's possible that the Philippines may consider acquiring the ALH Dhruv, Captain Sarabjeet S Parmar (Retd), Distinguished Fellow at the United Service Institution of India assumed during the conversation with Sputnik India.

"First of all, what's of paramount importance is the helicopter's ability to operate from the current ship setups in the Philippines, including the types and sizes of helidecks, as well as the dimensions of the helicopter. Secondly, the intention is solely to, fly the ALH from shore, that presents a different scenario. Ultimately, it hinges on whether the Philippines deems the ALH suitable for its needs, encompassing both ship-based and shore-based operations," he emphasized.

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is increasing its helicopter manufacturing capacity from 30 to 90 helicopters per year in anticipation of potential export orders, as per the press release of the Indian Ministry of Defence.
Earlier this year, CB Ananthakrishnan, the Chief Managing Director of HAL, expressed optimism about securing ‘breakthrough’ export orders.
During the first-visit of a Filipino Coast Guard chief to India last year, a Customer Demonstration Flight was conducted aboard the Advanced Light Helicopter MK III in Goa.
Indian navy person stands guard on board war ship Godavari during its decommissioning at the naval dockyard in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015.  - Sputnik India, 1920, 20.05.2024
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