HAL Estimates Rs 50 Crore to Make Drowned Chennai Coast Guard Planes Airworthy

Visiting HAL team estimates Rs 50 crore cost to make the submerged aircraft and helicopters airworthy again

Published: 10th December 2015 04:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th December 2015 04:23 AM   |  A+A-


NEW DELHI: For initial 48 hours of incessant rains in Chennai, the Coast Guard could not utilise its aircraft stationed the State capital during the most ‘crucial’ period for rescue operations, as it was caught napping. All air assets of Chennai air station, including five Dornier aircrafts and two Cheetah helicopters, were completely submerged in water.

It led to grounding of the entire fleet of Chennai air base and preliminary assessment of the damage suggests that that it will take nearly six months to operationalise them. And it will cost nearly `50 crore for its repairs.

This lapse on the part of maritime security force meant that it had to call in from other air bases like Kochi, Kolkata and Bhubneswar for deploying them in relief and rescue operation in Chennai.

According sources, incessant rains on the intervening night of December 1-2 flooded the Coast Guard air base of Chennai, in which five Dornier aircraft and two Cheetah helicopters parked there were completely watered. Calling it a complete violation of Standard Operating Procedure, key officials of the Coast Guard claim that such lapse could have been prevented.

“As weather warning was issued a day in advance, these air assets should have been moved out to safe air bases like Arakoram, Bengaluru or Kochi. It is a gross violation of standard operating procedure to handle natural disaster like situation,” a senior Coast Guard officer said.

In this regard, an internal note has been sent to the ministry of defence by the Chennai office of the Indian Coast Guard and probe is being ordered into the goof-up on the part of the of its air maintenance wing of the Coast Guard.


Engineers of the HAL, which manufactures and maintains these aircraft, have already inspected the loss and damage and they are believed to have given an estimate close to `50 crore for repairs and to make them airworthy.

This has cast a shadow over the exemplary work done by the defence forces in relief and rescue operations in flood-hit areas of Tamil Nadu. Thousands of people were airlifted by Coast Guard, Navy and IAF choppers involved in the search and rescue operation and food packets were air dropped to the inundated places of Chennai.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp