India’s state-owned aircraft manufacturer, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has conducted a 6-km altitude flight test of its Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) in Bengaluru recently clearing a major developmental milestone.
The helicopter was flown by Chief Test Pilot Wg. Cdr. (Retd) Unni K Pillai and Test Pilot, Wing Cdr (Retd) Anil Bhambhani.
The flight was carried out under the envelope expansion tests and flying at 6 km altitude is a critical requirement towards the certification of LUH. The helicopter exhibited satisfactory performance and handling qualities, said HAL in a statement.
With the completion of this milestone, LUH can now undertake high altitude cold weather trials planned in January 2019.
The LUH is a 3-ton class new generation helicopter designed and developed by Rotary Wing Research and Design Center (RWR&DC) of HAL to replace the ageing Cheetah (locally built French Aérospatiale SA 315B Lama) and Chetak (locally built Aérospatiale Alouette III) helicopters used by Indian Armed Forces.
The helicopter is being indigenously developed by HAL to meet the requirements of both military and civil operators. The helicopter with Glass Cockpit can be deployed for Reconnaissance, Surveillance roles and as a light transport helicopter.
The LUH is powered by TM/HAL Ardiden 1U/Shakti 1U single turbo shaft engine with sufficient power margins to cater to demanding high altitude missions. The helicopter will be capable of flying at 220 Kmph, with a service ceiling of 6.5 Km and a range of 350 Km with 400 kg payload.
First flight of LUH PT-1 was carried on September 6, 2016 and the second Prototype flew on May 22, 2017. HAL has in principal order for 187 LUH that includes 126 for Indian Army and 61 for Indian Air Force (IAF).