Place of birth : Kasargod Dist(Kerala)

Service : Army

Last Rank : Craftsman

Unit : 252 Army Avn Sqn

Arm/Regt : Army Aviation Corps

Operation : CI & IS Ops

Martyrdom : October 21, 2022

Craftsman Aswin KV

Craftsman Aswin KV hailed from Kizhakkemuri, a small village on the banks of Thejaswini river, in Cheruvathur panchayat of Kasaragod district in Kerala. Son of Shri MK Ashokan and Smt KV Kaushalya, he had two sisters Ashwathy and  Anaswara as his siblings. Born in a poor family, Craftsman Aswin studied using kerosene lamps, but scored well in the Class 10 exam. Continuing his perseverance, he got the top A+ grade in nine of 10 subjects in his class XII. After his schooling at Government Fisheries Vocational Higher Secondary School at Cheruvathur, he took up BSc Physics at Kasaragod Government College. But in the meantime he got selected to join the army.

 

He was recruited into the Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME), a branch of the Indian Army, responsible for design, development, trial, inspection and refit of weapon systems and equipment. He further got trained as a technician in the Army Aviation Corps, the air arm of the Indian Army. He functioned as part of the air crew and soon gained experience in various Helicopter operations.

 

Army Air Operation: 21 Oct 2022

 

During 2022, Cfn Aswin was serving with the 252 Army Aviation Squadron deployed in the North-East. The squadron was operating Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), which was known to be a high-performance helicopter designed for operation over a very wide range of weight, center of gravity and altitude conditions. Out of the four variants—(ALH Mark 1, Mark 2, Mark 3 and ALH-WSI) available in the Army, 252 Army Aviation Squadron was operating ALH-WSI (Weapons Systems Integrated) versions having powerful engine, called Shakti, co-developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Safran of France.  The Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH-WSI) was versatile, multi-role, multi-purpose, highly maneuverable, and rugged in construction.  On 21st Oct 2022, Cfn Aswin with Major Vikas Bhambhu and Major Mustafa Bohara as pilots and 2 other crew members was tasked for an air mission.  

 

The crew took off from Likabali in the Lower Siang district in their Helicopter to carry out the assigned task as per the operational plan. However as Major Vikas Bhambhu's aircraft reached a forward area around Migging in Upper Siang district in Arunachal Pradesh, the Helicopter faced an emergency situation.  Arunachal Pradesh was considered to have some of the most difficult terrains in the country, throwing unexpected challenges to the pilots. The mountains and the rapidly changing weather conditions caused a huge number of air mishaps and casualties. The Advanced Light Helicopter presumably developed a serious snag that the pilots could not rectify in time. The pilots sent a MAY DAY call to the Air Traffic Control (ATC) suggesting a technical or mechanical failure.

 

Both the pilots had more than 600 combined flying hours on the Advance Light Helicopter (Weapon Systems Integrated) and over 1800 service flying hours between them. Major Vikas Bhambhu and Major Mustafa Bohara were experienced pilots with substantial flying experience but they apparently did not get adequate time to bring the aircraft under control. Consequently, the aircraft crashed at around 10:43 am and Cfn Aswin and other crew members could not survive the crash. A joint search operation with teams from the army and air force was launched immediately after locating the crash site, which was very remote and extremely challenging in terms of hills with steep gradients and thick jungle. The search and rescue team eventually managed to retrieve the mortal remains of the valiant soldiers. Besides Cfn Aswin, the other martyred soldiers included Major Mustafa Bohara, Major Vikas Bhambhu, Hav Biresh Sinha and  Naik Rohitashva Kumar. Cfn Aswin was a valiant soldier, who at the age of 24 years laid down his life in the service of the nation.

 

Cfn Aswin is survived by his father Shri MK Ashokan, mother Smt KV Kaushalya, and sisters Smt Ashwathy & Smt Anaswara.

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