HAL’s Light Utility Helicopter clears tests in Himalayas


Bengaluru (Karnataka): Indigenously designed and developed, Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) has successfully demonstrated high altitude capability in hot and high weather conditions.

The trials from August 24 to September 2 were carried out by test pilots from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Indian Air Force and Army.

“The LUH has complied with all the requirements of the users and with the completion of hot and high altitude testing, it is close to operational clearance certification,” R Madhavan, CMD, HAL was quoted as saying.

“All planned tests were successfully demonstrated. A comprehensive test plan was executed at Leh (3300m) in temperatures upto International Standard Atmosphere (ISA) +32 degree C which included envelope expansion, performance, and flying qualities,” HAL spokesperson Gopal Sutar said in a statement.

The LUH then lifted off from Leh and demonstrated its hot and high hover performance at Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) at 5000m.
While these extreme weather conditions imposed flight restrictions on all other civil and military aircraft, LUH flights were unhindered as it is designed for such operations, the statement read.

The helicopter embarked on a 3000km flight from Bengaluru to Leh over a period of three days traversing many civil and military airfields. During the course of ferrying and trials at high altitude, the chopper revealed high reliability without any service support.

The composite trials team included designers, flight test crew of HAL, the Indian Air Force and Indian Army. Representatives of Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC) and ORDAQA witnessed the trials for military and civil certification requirements, respectively.

The flights were completed by the HAL flight test team led by Wg Cdr (Retd) Unni Pillai, CTP(RW) and accompanied by Wg Cdr (Retd) Anil Bhambani, Gp Capt (Retd) Pupinder Singh, Gp Capt V Panwar, Wg Cdr A Jena, a representative from the Air Force Gp Capt R Dubey and Lt Col R Grewal from the Indian Army.

The LUH completed hot weather trials at Nagpur in 2018, cold weather trials at Leh in 2019, sea level trials at Chennai in 2018 and at Puducherry in 2019.

Several deals to provide various attack and transport choppers to the Indian Armed Forces are at different stages. While the Chinook and Apache choppers are under procurement from America, talks are also said to be underway to procure Kamov choppers from Russia.

The HAL is also developing Light Combat Helicopters (LCH).

Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) was proposed to meet IAF’s requirement of a dedicated light helicopter for combat operations. LCH has maximum possible commonality with ALH. LCH with a narrow fuselage has pilot and co-pilot/gunner in tandem configuration incorporating a number of stealth features, Armour protection, Night attack capability and crash worthy landing gear for better survivability. (ANI)