Bengaluru: Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will convert the HAL-built Chetak Helicopter into an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), said HAL Rotor Wing Research & Development Centre (RWRDC) Design Chief Dr Prasad Sampath. He was speaking on 'Development of Helicopters in India – An Overview' today, at the Aero India 2009 International Seminar on 'Aerospace – Perspectives and Trends in Technologies', being held in Bengaluru from 9 to 12 February.
Dr Sampath said that since the Chetak was already flying, he did not foresee any difficulties in converting it into a rotary-wing UAV, as all it required was integration of the command and control systems. HAL's Chetak is a version of the French Alouette helicopter.
He said that HAL was also working on a 12-tonne class 'Indian Multi-role Helicopter, and that present estimates were that India has a requirement of 290 such machines. He said that HAL was concentrating on helicopter design and production, and had established a separate helicopter complex within the company, with a separate managing director.
Looking forward to the next 20 years, he said that while military helicopter requirements might decline, all indications were that demand for civil helicopters was all set to increase, Sampath said HAL was looking at the worldwide market for civilian helicopters.