The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited's Light Utility Helicopter project has notched another milestone as the third prototype (PT3) made its maiden flight on December 14.

The helicopter was flown by test pilots, Wg Cdr (Retd) Anil Bhambhani and Gp Capt (Retd) M R Anand VM, the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) said in a release here Monday.

The flight was flawless and the prototype would augment development flight testing in conjunction with other two Prototypes towards Certification, it said.

Indigenously designed and developed by the state-run aviation major Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, the Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) achieved an important milestone of flying at a 6-km altitude here recently.

Based on the feedback from flight testing of PT1 and PT2, PT3 is built to the standard of deliverable configuration, the release said.

With this achievement, LUH is now close to production clearance and the unit is confident of meeting requirements of the armed forces, HAL CMD R Madhavan said.

The successful completion of the first flight of LUH's third prototype is a quantum leap and will soon replace the ageing fleet of Cheetah and Chetak helicopters, according to HAL Director (Engineering and R&D) Arup Chatterjee.

The LUH is a 3-ton class new generation single engine helicopter indigenously designed and developed by the Rotary Wing Research and Design Centre (RWR&DC) of HAL, it said.

The first flight of LUH PT-1 was carried on September 6, 2016 and the second Prototype flew on May 22, 2017.

High altitude cold weather trials of LUH are planned in January 2019, the release added.