HAL has an order for 187 Light Utility Helicopters that will be used by both the Army and IAF

The HAL Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) has achieved an important milestone of flying at six kilometres (19,700 feet) altitude in Bangalore. The chopper was flown by chief test pilot Wing Commander Unni K Pillai (Retd) and test pilot, Wing Commander Anil Bhambhani (Retd).

The flight was carried out under the envelope expansion tests and flying at six kilometres altitude is a critical requirement towards the certification of LUH. The helicopter exhibited satisfactory performance and handling qualities. 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 the Rotary Wing Research and Design Centre (RWR&DC) of HAL to replace the ageing Cheetah and Chetak helicopters used by the Indian Armed Forces. The first flight of LUH PT-1 was carried on Sept. 6, 2016, and the second Prototype flew on May 22, 2017. HAL has an in principal order for 187 LUH that includes 126 for the Indian Army and 61 for the IAF.

The LUH is being indigenously developed by HAL to meet the requirements of both military and civil operators. The helicopter with a glass cockpit can be deployed for reconnaissance and surveillance roles and as a light transport helicopter. The helicopter will be capable of flying at 220 kilometres per hour (135 miles per hour), with a service ceiling of 6.5 kilometres (21,325 feet) and a range of 350 kilometres (220 miles) with a 400-kilogram (880-pound) payload. 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.