BENGALURU: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s (HAL) indigenously developed Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) demonstrated high-altitude capability in hot and high weather conditions in the Himalayas. Also, the Army version of the helicopter is ready for Initial Operational Clearance.The HAL, in a statement on Wednesday, said a comprehensive test plan was executed at Leh (3,300 metres above mean sea level - MAMSL) in temperatures up to ISA+320C which included envelope expansion, performance and flying qualities.
“LUH took off from Leh and demonstrated its hot and high hover performance at Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) Advanced Landing Ground at 5,000 MAMSL. The helicopter also demonstrated its payload capability in Siachen Glacier. During the trials, pilots landed the helicopter at the highest helipads of Amar and Sonam,” the HAL stated.According to Arup Chatterjee, Director (Engineering and R&D), HAL, the performance of the helicopter and its systems are satisfactorily fulfilling users’ requirements.
Army LUH ready for initial operational clearance
HAL Chairman and Managing Director R Madhavan said the Army version of the LUH is now ready for Initial Operational Clearance. HAL pilots Wg Cdr (Retd) Unni Pillai, Wg Cdr (Retd) Anil Bhambani, Gp Capt (Retd) Pupinder Singh and Gp Capt V Panwar, along with Gp Capt R Dubey and Sq Ldr Joshi from the Indian Air Force, and Lt Col R Grewal and Lt Col Pawan from the Army conducted the trials. Representatives from certification authority witnessed the trials.The LUH can be compared with other contemporary helicopters in the class, like Eurocopter AS 550 C3 Fennec (France), Bell 407 Shen (USA), KA226 T (Russia), ANSAT (Russia) and Agusta A 119 KOALA (Italy).
■ LUH is a 3-ton, single-engine, highly-agile utility helicopter
■ Indigenously designed and developed to meet operational requirements of the Army and IAF
■ LUH will replace the ageing fleet of Cheetahs and Chetaks
■The Initial Operational Clearance for the basic LUH IAF variant was accorded by CEMILAC on February 7, 2020