A picture of Indian Navy's Air Evacuation Pod developed in Kochi at the Southern Naval Command. | Photo: Twitter/@DefencePROKochi
A picture of Indian Navy's Air Evacuation Pod developed in Kochi at the Southern Naval Command. | Photo: Twitter/@DefencePROKochi
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New Delhi: The Navy has indigenously designed and made an Air Evacuation Pod (AEP) for safe evacuation of Covid-19 patients from remote locations.

Designed by the Naval Aircraft Yard (Kochi) under the Southern Naval Command (SNC), the AEP will facilitate the evacuation of patients in a fully sealed patient transfer capsule, ensuring there is no risk for cross infection to pilots and evacuation team and the need to sanitise the aircraft post evacuation, a government statement said Monday.

Talking about the development, a senior Navy officer told ThePrint that the AEP will not only aid during the pandemic, but also in normal operations of ships where casevac (casualty evacuation) from sea is an integral part.

“Where every kg counts in the range and endurance of an helicopter, a lightweight evacuation part would mean evacuating patients from farther out at sea,” said the officer on condition of anonymity.

The evacuation pod was designed under the guidance of the principal medical officer of the naval air station at Kochi, INS Garuda in consultation with specialists from the naval hospital INHS Sanjivani and SNC headquarters, according to the statement.

Made of aluminum, nitrile rubber and perspex, the AEP costs Rs 50,000 per unit.

“The highlight of the pod is that it weighs only 32 kg and has incurred a manufacturing cost of ₹50000/- which is only 1% of cost of an imported equivalent item (Rs 59Lakhs),” said the statement.

It further added that trials of evacuating patients inside AEP were successfully completed on 8 April aboard Indian Navy’s Advance Light Helicopter (ALH) and Dornier aircraft at SNC.

So far, 12 AEPs are planned for distribution across Southern, Western, Eastern and Andaman and Nicobar Naval commands.

Also read: DRDO develops product to prevent spread of air droplets to doctors from Covid-19 patients

Navy’s other indigenous designs

Amid a deepening Covid-19 crisis in the country, the Navy has been making several indigenous products to aid in the fight against the pandemic.

The Naval Dockyard in Mumbai has designed and developed its own low-cost handheld infrared-based temperature sensor for screening of personnel. The Visakhapatnam dockyard has manufactured a portable system that can supply oxygen to six people at a time.

The decision to develop handheld sensors was taken to overcome the scarcity of temperature guns, which are priced higher in the market due to the pandemic.

The Portable Multi-feed Oxygen Manifold set up uses an industrial 6-way radial header to enable one jumbo size oxygen bottle to supply oxygen to six patients concurrently.

The Navy has also been maintaining its quarantine facilities and providing ration to stranded labourers during the Covid-19 crisis.

The Navy also said Tuesday that INS Dega of the Eastern Naval Command ensured that the joint-user airfield at Visakhapatnam remains open round the clock.

Also read: Hundreds of sorties, 336 tonnes of supplies, IAF is now govt’s transport service in lockdown


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