Lac Standoff With China: Indigenous Light Utility Helicopters Land In Ladakh For Final Winter Trials

Developed by Rotary Wing Research and Design Centre (RWR&DC) of HAL, these helicopters will be produced at the green field helicopter manufacturing facility located at Tumkur.
Amidst the ongoing tensions between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the indigenous Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) has landed in Ladakh for final trials.
Confirming this to Financial Express Online, sources said “these helicopters will be flying with the Indian Army from helipads located in forward areas.”
These helicopters will be replacing the Cheetah and Chetak helicopters which are currently being used by the Indian Army in the high altitude areas. As has been reported by Financial Express Online, earlier this year, the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) certificate for the LUH has been issued to state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
More About LUH
According to HAL this is a new generation helicopter with state of the art technologies onboard. With a weight of 3-Ton, these machines are expected to meet the emerging needs in this class of helicopters in the future both in the military and civil world.
Developed by Rotary Wing Research and Design Centre (RWR&DC) of HAL, these helicopters will be produced at the green field helicopter manufacturing facility located at Tumkur.
It comes with a Glass Cockpit and is expected to be used for various roles including Reconnaissance, Surveillance and also as a light transport helicopter.
It has the capability to fly at a speed of 235 Kmph with a 400 kg payload.
It is powered by TM/HAL Ardiden 1U/Shakti 1U single turboshaft engine which has enough power margins which will allow it to cater to the demands of the high altitude missions.
In February 2009, the design and development was launched and on Dec 6, 2014, the initial Ground Test Vehicle (GTV) run was carried out.
The technical flight trial of the first prototype Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) was carried out successfully in September 2016. The flight testing is going of two prototypes.
In principle, HAL has an order from both the Indian Army (126) and the Indian Air Force (61).
Who Is flight Testing?
It is being done by the test pilots from both the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force in hot and high altitude.
Evaluation of all systems, specific flight testing such as Night flying, Slope landing, Single Hydraulic Performance, run-on landing with the engine off etc., have been completed satisfactorily.
Operational Clearance is expected in the near future having successfully completed all major developmental trials.
In 2019, the helicopter has undergone comprehensive tests at Leh (3300m) which was under extreme temperatures going up to the International Standard Atmosphere (ISA) +32 degree C. The tests also included not only envelope expansion but performance and flying qualities. From Leh, there was a hover performance at Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) which is at a height of 5000m and then it had gone to another forward helipad at a height of 5500m at ISA +27degree C.
This helicopter has already successfully completed its hot trials in Nagpur, sea trials at Chennai and Puducherry.
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