The Indian Air Force has indigenously modified two Mi-17 helicopters for atomised airborne spraying of pesticide to deal with locust attack, according to a statement issued by the IAF on Tuesday. 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 helicopters, the statement added.
The nozzles used for the purpose are a mix of commercially available as well as the ones developed by the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO), Chandigarh.
The pesticide malathion in appropriate concentration would be filled in the internal auxiliary tank of 800 litres capacity fitted inside the helicopter and pumped into the nozzles by using an electrical pump as well as compressed air, achieving nearly 40 minutes of spaying duration in the infected zone covering an area of approximately 750 hectares in each mission.
A team of test pilots and test engineers of aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment, Bangalore have successfully carried out ground and airborne trials of Airborne Locust Control System (ALCS) on a modified Mi-17 helicopter.
The system is being offered for use with malathion for deployment in the locust control operation. Being an indigenously developed system, ALCS would offer inherent advantages of in-house maintenance, future upgradeability, saving of foreign exchange and help in making the country self-reliant in aviation-related technology.