To overcome difficulties confronted in locust-control operations as a result of inordinate delays in receiving kits that may 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 upkeep of Mi-17 copters, was efficiently examined by a crew of check pilots and engineers of the Bengaluru-based Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment by finishing up floor and airborne trials of ALCS on the modified Mi-17 helicopter, the Ministry of Defence mentioned in a press release.


“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 assertion mentioned.

The pesticide Malathion in acceptable focus could be stuffed 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 almost 40 minutes of spaying length within the contaminated zone protecting an space of roughly 750 hectares in every mission, it mentioned.

Anticipating locust assaults, the Ministry of Agriculture had signed a contract with M/s Micron, UK to switch two Mi-17 Helicopters to spray atomised pesticide to arrest locust breeding, in May. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK-based agency is just not ready to fabricate and provide the modification equipment to the IAF earlier than September for system integration and testing. In the in the meantime, an unprecedented locust assault began within the final week of May and was quick spreading throughout many States, the Defence Ministry mentioned.

The system is being provided for use with Malathion for deployment in locust-control operations, the Ministry mentioned, including that ALCS will provide inherent benefits of in-house upkeep, future upgradeability, and financial savings on international alternate as it’s an indigenously developed system.