Indian state-owned aircraft manufacturer, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has received the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) for its Light Utility Helicopter (LUH).
R. Madhavan, Chairman and Managing director of HAL received the IOC document from G Sateesh Reddy, Secretary, Department of Defence R & D and Chairman, DRDO at the ‘Bandhan’ program held at ongoing DefExpo 2020 on Feb. 7 in the presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mr Yogi Adityanath and others.
“This is a momentous occasion for HAL. It reinforces our commitment towards indigenous R&D programs on self-reliance and enhancing operational effectiveness of the Indian Armed Forces. HAL is fully geared up to fulfill the requirements of its customers in a time-bound manner”, said Madhavan.
Arup Chatterjee, Director, Engineering & R&D at HAL, said the performance of basic configuration of LUH in all terrains and under all weather conditions is satisfactory and HAL is moving towards the next phase of integrating and flight testing of Mission & Role Equipment on LUH.
LUH is a single-engine, lightweight, highly agile 3-ton utility helicopter, indigenously designed and developed by HAL to meet the operational requirements of the Indian Army and Air Force.
LUH will soon replace the 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.
Three LUH 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.
The endurance and reliability of the helicopter were established during the hot weather and high-altitude trials wherein an LUH was ferried from Bengaluru, covering over 7000 km of distance and continuously flying for 17 days without any abnormalities.
One LUH Prototype is part of the flying display and another is part of the static display at the DefExpo 2020.