In a major boost for government-owned defence manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the third prototype of the light utility helicopter (LUH) currently being developed by the company successfully completed its maiden flight on 14 December, reports The New Indian Express. This puts the model close to clearance for replacing the ageing fleet of Cheetah and Chetak helicopters currently being operated by the Indian Armed Forces.
Chairman and Managing Director of HAL R Madhavan stated, "With this achievement, LUH is now close to production clearance and HAL is confident of meeting requirements of the Armed Forces.”
The LUH is a three-tonne single-engine light utility helicopter designed and built indigenously by the Rotary Wing Research and Design Centre (RWR&DC) of HAL. The helicopter has a maximum speed of 260 km/hr and possesses a range of up to 350 km. The LUH will be capable of accommodating a maximum of two pilots and six passengers.
According to a report by Money Control, the LUH will next undergo high altitude cold weather trials which are scheduled for January 2019.
The Indian military has a requirement for 384 helicopters of which 187 helicopters will be built by HAL. The defence manufacturer plans to fulfil the order by 2022.
As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.
Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.
We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.
Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.