The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has received the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) for its Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) paving the way for its productionisation during DefExpo 2020. The HAL received the IOC document from Mr G Sateesh Reddy, Secretary, Department of Defence R & D and Chairman, DRDO at the ‘Bandhan’ programme held at ongoing DefExpo 2020 today in the presence of Defence Minister Mr Rajnath Singh and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mr Yogi Adityanath and others. The HAL Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) along with its derivative Light Observation Helicopter (LOH) is design and developed by Rotary Wing Research and Design Center (RWR&DC) and manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for civilian and military applications.
The HAL Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) is a 3-tonne utility helicopte with cruise speed of 235 km/h, maximum speed of 260 km/h, service ceiling of up to 6.5 km, a range of 350 km, a maximum take-off weight of 3.12 tonne and an empty weight of 1.91 tonne. One LUH prototype is part of the flying display and another is part of the static display at DefExpo 2020. Three prototypes have been built and cumulatively completed over 550 flights under various terrains and climatic conditions like cold weather, hot weather, sea-level and high altitude complying to stringent certification and user requirements. Its endurance and reliability were established during the hot weather and high-altitude trials where in LUH was ferried from Bengaluru, covering over 7000 kms of distance and continuously flying for 17 days without any abnormalities. The helicopters are set to replace older under licensed HAL built versions of Aérospatiale SA 315B Lama (designated Cheetah) and Aérospatiale Alouette III (designated Chetak) in service with Indian Army and Indian Air Force.
The LUH will be capable of accommodating a maximum of two pilots and six passengers, all of which shall be seated on crash-worthy seats; externally, it is capable of carrying cargoes of up to 1 tonne under-slung. LUH with glass cockpit can able to undertake various missions, including emergency medical services (EMS), troop transport, utility, search and rescue (S&R), VVIP, aerial reconnaissance and surveillance missions. LUH is powered by a single 750 KW rated Shakti-1U turboshaft engine derived from Safran Ardiden, co-developed by HAL and Turbomeca. It supports dual channel Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) system along with backup fuel control system. The helicopter will be equipped with a glass cockpit featuring a Smart Cockpit Display System (SCDS) along with a skid-based landing gear arrangement.