HAL successfully conducts altitude test of light utility helicopter
17 December 2018
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd today said it recently carried out a third test-flight of the light utility helicopter (LUH) in Bengaluru, during which it achieved an important milestone of flying at 6 km altitude.
The chopper was flown by chief test pilot Wg Cdr (Retd) Unni K Pillai and test pilot, Wing Cdr (Retd) Anil Bhambhani during the flight carried out under the envelope expansion tests, HAL said, adding that flying at 6 km altitude is a critical requirement towards the certification of LUH.
The helicopter exhibited satisfactory performance and handling qualities. With the completion of this milestone, LUH can now undertake high altitude cold weather trials planned in January 2019.
The LUH is a 3-ton class new generation helicopter designed and developed by Rotary Wing Research and Design Center (RWR&DC) of HAL to replace the ageing Cheetah and Chetak helicopters used by Indian Armed Forces.
The first flight of LUH PT-1 was carried on 6 September 2016 and the second prototype flew on 22 May 2017. HAL has an in-principle order for 187 LUH that includes 126 for Indian Army and 61 for IAF.
The LUH is being indigenously developed by HAL to meet the requirements of both military and civil operators. The helicopter with glass cockpit can be deployed for reconnaissance, surveillance roles and as a light transport helicopter. The helicopter will be capable of flying at 220 kmph, with a service ceiling of 6.5 km and a range of 350 m with 400 kg payload. The LUH is powered by TM/HAL Ardiden 1U/Shakti 1U single turbo shaft engine with sufficient power margins to cater to demanding high altitude missions.
"With this flight, LUH is now close to production clearance and HAL is confident of meeting the requirements of the armed forces," said R Madhavan, chairman and managing director of the aerospace major.