BANGALORE: Defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) on Thursday said that the Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) successfully demonstrated high altitude capability in hot and high weather conditions in the Himalayas. LUH has been designed and developed by HAL.

“The trials were carried out by test pilots from HAL, IAF and the Army from August 24 to September 2, 2019. The LUH has complied with all the requirements of the users and with the completion of hot and high altitude testing, it is close to operational clearance certification,” R Madhavan, CMD, HAL, said in a statement.

HAL claimed that all planned tests were successfully demonstrated and that a comprehensive test plan was executed at Leh (3,300 m altitude or 3,842 feet) in temperatures up to +32 degree Celsius—as per International Standard Atmosphere (ISA)—which included envelope expansion, performance and flying qualities.

“The LUH then lifted off from Leh and demonstrated its hot and high hover performance at Daulat Beg Oldie advanced landing ground (ALG) at 5,000 m followed by another forward helipad (5,500 m at +27degree Celsius). While these extreme weather conditions imposed flight restrictions on all other civil and military aircraft, LUH flights were unhindered as it is designed for such operations,” HAL said.

The helicopter embarked on a 3,000 km flight from Bangalore to Leh over a period of three days traversing many civil and military airfields. The composite trials team included designers, flight test crew of HAL, the IAF and Indian army. Representatives from military and civil quality assurance agencies also witnessed the trials.

“The flights were completed by an HAL flight test team led by Wing Commander Unni Pillai (Retd), and accompanied by Wing Commander Anil Bhambani (Retd), Group Captain Pupinder Singh (Retd), Group Captain V Panwar, Wing Commander A Jena, Group Captain R Dubey and Lt Col R Grewal,” HAL added.

The LUH completed hot weather trials at Nagpur in 2018, cold weather trials at Leh in 2019, sea level trials at Chennai in 2018 and at Pondicherry in 2019.