The Indian Air Force (IAF) has temporarily grounded its Dhruv advanced light helicopters (ALH) fleet.

The grounding comes after one of the helicopters crashed in a village in the state of Uttar Pradesh last week, killing all the seven personnel, including two pilots, onboard.

The Mark-III Dhruv took off from Bareilly on 25 July for a routine training mission and crashed in Sitapur district after losing radio and radar contact with ground stations.

The fleet will resume flying only after completion of a comprehensive inspection.

Unidentified sources told IANS news agency that the inquiry team, in its preliminary report, recommended certain checks and inspections to be carried out on the helicopters.

An IAF official said: "The helicopters are expected to resume flying soon."

"The fleet will resume flying only after completion of a comprehensive inspection."

The Indian Army has also grounded its Dhruv fleet pending the completion of precautionary checks, reported Press Trust of India.

Dhruv is an advanced 5.5t class light helicopter built by the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) for the Indian army, air force, navy, coast guard and civil operations.

Powered by two Turbomeca TM 333-2C or 2B2 engines, the helicopter has several military variants suitable for transport, utility, reconnaissance and medical evacuation missions.

The Indian military had grounded the entire Dhruv fleet at least twice in the past due to technical failures, including engine problems.

The helicopter has also been involved in several accidents since it became operational in 2002.

In addition to India, the helicopter is also operated by the armed forces of Bolivia, Burma, Israel, Maldives and Nepal.

Image: An Indian Air Force Dhruv ALH helicopter at the Royal International Air Tattoo in Gloucestershire, UK. Photo: Public domain.

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