Indigenously developed Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) had achieved important milestone of flying at 6 km altitude in December 2018, The test was critical requirement towards certification of LUH. Its first flight was carried in September 2016 and second Prototype was flown in May 2017. As per reports emanating from Aero India 2019, the IOC is aimed to be achieved at the earliest, however, the official who is familiar with this development was unaware of the exact timelines for the IOC certification to commence.

The latest test was carried out under envelope expansion tests and helicopter exhibited satisfactory performance and handling qualities. With the completion of this milestone, LUH had successfully completed the high altitude cold weather trials which was planned in January 2019. The designers and flight test crew confirmed that LUH is back as planned after successfully completing the cold weather trials at Leh, last month.

During the high-altitude weather trials at Leh, LUH was cold-soaked for 48 hours at minus 20 degrees. It had a very successful engine start and recorded flawless performance of all systems. Leh is at 3 km above sea level and LUH’s cold-soaking trials were held at a height of 4.5 km. The three prototypes of LUH cumulatively have logged in more than 200 flights so far.

Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) is a 3-ton class new generation helicopter designed and developed by indigenously Rotary Wing Research and Design Centre (RWR&DC) of HAL. It will replace the ageing fleet of Cheetah and Chetak helicopters used by Indian Armed Forces.

The chopper is capable of flying at 220 kph, with service ceiling of 6.5 km and range of 350 km with 400 kg payload. It is fitted with Glass Cockpit and powered by Turbomeca/HAL Ardiden 1U/Shakti 1U single turbo shaft engine with sufficient power margins to cater to demanding high altitude missions.

It will meet requirements of both military and civil operators. It can be deployed for reconnaissance, surveillance roles and as light transport helicopter. HAL has in principal order for 187 LUH that includes 126 for Indian Army and 61 for IAF.

IDN at Aero India 2019