The Indian Air Force (IAF) has developed and deployed first-ever Indian Airborne Rescue Pod (ARPIT) meant for the evacuation of critical patients with infectious diseases like the current pandemic COVID-19 from high altitude area, isolated and remote places. A total of 7 ARPITs have been inducted into the IAF.
The first prototype was developed at 3 BRD of IAF located in Chandigarh and has undergone various modifications. IAF has not released the dimensions of the pod but has released pictures of the Indian Airborne Rescue Pod being loaded into the CH- 47F (I) Chinook helicopter, C-130J and An-32 aircraft of IAF.
IAF says that only indigenous materials have been used to fabricate ARPIT pod. This indigenously designed system has been developed at a cost of Rs Sixty Thousand only, as compared to the imported systems costing up to Rs Sixty Lakh.
Indian Airborne Rescue Pod ARPIT lightweight isolation system is made from aviation certified materials and has a transparent and durable cast Perspex for enhanced patient visibility which is larger, higher and wider than the existing models.
The isolation system caters for a suitable number of air exchanges, integration of medical monitoring instruments, and ventilation to an intubated patient. In addition, it generates high constant negative pressure in the isolation chamber for prevention of infection risk to aircrew, ground crew and health care workers involved in air transportation. The ARPIT utilises High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) H-13 class filters and supports invasive ventilation using Transport Ventilator. The design integrates life support and monitoring instruments like the defibrillator with multipara monitor, pulse oximeter, Infusion pumps etc, long arm gloves for use by health care professionals and power pack with high endurance. Design requirements have been evolved and are based on the guidelines issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH) and Centre for Disease Control (CDC), USA.