The preliminary design of the 10 Ton IMRH has been taken up to meet the requirement of the Indian Defence Services. Dedicated versions to meet the requirements of Air Force / Army as well as Navy are planned. The helicopter will be powered by twin engines and will feature blade folding option for ship deck operations. The intended roles of IMRH are to support air assault, air transport, combat logistics, combat search & rescue and casualty evacuation operations.

The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Indian Multi-Role Helicopter (IMRH) is a planned large rotorcraft in the 10-15 ton class. The company is currently seeking out foreign partners either from Russia or Europe’s Airbus Helicopters, with which the company has ambitions of developing the IMRH and for producing around 350 medium lift helicopters.

The three branches of Indian armed forces are envisioned to be major customers for the type. According to HAL, the MLH is to be in the same class as the Russian Mil Mi-17. The IMRH (for IAF, Navy and Army) is proposed as a replacement to the existing medium lift helicopters such as Mi17's, Kamovs and Seakings which will phase out in the next eight to ten years and HAL is keen to complete the development of IMRH during this time.

The indigenous medium lift helicopter that will replace all imports in that class for the armed forces, India’s leading aerospace manufacturer has requested the government in Feb 2020 for permissions to go ahead on the ambitious project. The Indian Multi Role Helicopter (IMRH) plan, project costs for which are expected to breach the Rs 10,000 crore mark, will have several unique aspects, including a design that will allow it to operate with two different engines so that it does not remain dependent on any one source.

The scale of initial investments needed is particularly high as the program will include multiple destruction tests to prove the sturdiness of the design before it can be certified for military use and it has to match up at least to the Russian origin Mi-17V5 that is intended to be replaced. There is an urgency to process the permissions by this year, given that a six-year developmental timeline is expected. This would ensure that the Indian made chopper will be ready by 2027, when the air force has to start replacing its fleet of imported Mi 17s that will reach the end of service life. HAL CMD R Madhavan has told in an interview to ET that a different developmental model is in the works for the most ambitious Indian helicopter plan yet. The chopper will have two separate engine options so that it does not remain dependent on any one source.

The program will require a heavy duty engine in the 2500 horsepower range that will need to be manufactured locally, given the potential orders in mind. The leading Indian aeronautical company will also need foreign collaboration for the project and will be going in for a risk-sharing model where vendors will help during the developmental project.

There are two engine options available, one is the Rolls Royce-Safran RTM322 and another is Safran's Makila series. Another option is to go for the lower end version of Safran's Aneto Turboshaft. At 1900KW, or even 2000KW, this engine may provide additional lift for the IMRH. Despite looming sanction scares the GE-T700 series turboshafts is another good option.

An interesting pic of IMRH wind tunnel test under the watchful eyes of Wg Cdr Unni Pillai (Retd), Executive Director (Flight Operations-Rotary Wing), HAL. The program is slowly and steadily picking pace. And, that’d good news on Air Force Day 2020

Indian Multi-Role Helicopter (IMRH) Updates & Key Features

1) IMRH program is indeed alive
2) The wind tunnel model seems a variant of armed transport like armed Mi-17V5 (rather naval multi-role like MH-60R)
3) Check exhaust, upwards decreasing thermal sig. So the attack version definitely will have very low RCS structure
4) The proposed IMRH will be equipped with automatic (4-Axis) flight control system, state-of-the-art mission systems, smart cockpit display system,  advanced avionic systems, retractable tricycle landing gear, composite modular structure etc, to meet the utility and armed roles of the Indian Armed Forces
5) Twin engine with FADEC
6) Different airframes for IAF, Army and Navy 
5) IMRH will have a crew of 2
6) Total capacity is 24 pax seated troops
7) Max take-off weight is 12,500 kg (27,557 lb)
8) Payload capacity of 4,000 kg
8) Maximum speed is expected to be 275 km/h (171 mph, 148 kn)
9) The range of the helicopter would be 800 km (497 mi, 431 nmi) and the service ceiling of 6,700 m (22,000 ft) which would be conducive to operate in the Himalayan regions along and LAC, the LOC and the high altitude regions of the Siachen glacier