Indian Naval Air Squadron 324 was commissioned into the Indian Navy in the presence of Vice Admiral Biswajit Dasgupta, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command at INS Dega, Visakhapatnam.
The unit is the first Naval Squadron on the Eastern Seaboard operating the indigenously designed and built Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) MK III (MR) helicopters.
INAS 324 squadron has been named as ‘Kestrels’, after a bird species that has good sensory capabilities, symbolising the role envisaged of the aircraft and the air squadron.
The insignia of the squadron depicts a ‘Kestrel’ searching over vast blue waters and white sea waves, which signifies the role of Maritime Reconnaissance (MR) and Search and Rescue (SAR) role of the squadron.
ALH MK III helicopters are fitted with state-of-the-art equipment which includes modern surveillance radar and electro-optical sensors.
Induction of these helicopters is part of the initiative of Atma Nirbhar Bharat, as they have been developed and manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
In addition to their primarily roles of MR and SAR, these helicopters can also be deployed for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations as well as for special operations with the Marine Commandos (Marcos).
The helicopter also has an airborne Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) for use as air ambulance, to facilitate the medical evacuation of critically ill patients.