India’s indigenously developed HAL Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) demonstrated high altitude capability in Hot and High weather conditions in the Himalayas recently for about 10 days.
A comprehensive test plan was executed at Leh (3300 MAMSL) in temperatures up to ISA+320C which included envelope expansion, performance and flying qualities. LUH took off from Leh and demonstrated its hot and high hover performance at Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) at 5000 MAMSL. The helicopter also demonstrated its high altitude payload capability in Siachen glacier. During the trials, pilots landed the helicopter at the highest helipads of Amar and Sonam.
“HAL has once again proved its indigenous capability in design & development. The Army version of LUH is now ready for Initial Operational Clearance”, says R. Madhavan, Chairman and Managing Director of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
According to Arup Chatterjee, Director (Engineering and R&D), HAL, “the performance of the helicopter and its systems are satisfactory fulfilling the requirements of the users. All planned tests were successfully demonstrated”.
The flights were carried out by composite trial team which included pilots from HAL, Wg Cdr (Retd) Unni Pillai, CTP (RW), Wg Cdr (Retd) Anil Bhambani, Gp Capt (Retd) Pupinder Singh and Gp Capt V Panwar along with Gp Capt R Dubey, Sq Ldr Joshi (from Indian Air Force) and Lt Col R Grewal & Lt Col Pawan (from Indian Army). Representatives from certification authority witnessed the trials.
HAL Light Utility Helicopter (LUH)
HAL Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) is a single-engine, lightweight, highly agile 3-ton utility helicopter, indigenously designed and developed by Indian state-owned aircraft manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to meet the operational requirements of the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force (IAF).
LUH will soon replace the services’ aging fleet of HAL Cheetah (a license-built variant of French Aérospatiale SA 315B Lama) and HAL Chetak (a license-built variant of French Aérospatiale Alouette III) helicopters.
The Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) for basic LUH was accorded by CEMILAC for IAF variant on February 7, 2020 during DefExpo 2020 in Lucknow