HAL’s third light utility helicopter completes maiden flight

18 December 2018 (Last Updated December 18th, 2018 10:54)

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s (HAL) third prototype light utility helicopter (LUH) has successfully performed its first flight.

HAL’s third light utility helicopter completes maiden flight
The third prototype (PT3) light utility helicopter (LUH) of HAL. Credit: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s (HAL) third prototype light utility helicopter (LUH) has successfully performed its first flight.

The helicopter is designed by HAL’s Rotary Wing Research and Design Center (RWR&DC) and weighs 3t, has a range of 350km with 400kg payload, and a 6.5km service ceiling.

It was flown by retired wing commander Anil Bhambhani and captain M R Anand V M.

Commenting on the achievement, HAL CMD R Madhavan said: “LUH is now close to production clearance and HAL is confident of meeting customer requirements of the Armed Forces.”

HAL Engineering R&D director Arup Chatterjee added: “The successful completion of the first flight of the third prototype of LUH is a quantum leap and will soon replace the ageing fleet of Cheetah / Chetak.”

“LUH is now close to production clearance and HAL is confident of meeting customer requirements of the Armed Forces.”

This flight follows after the helicopter completed a 6km altitude flight as part of envelope expansion tests.

The successful flight will also boost development flight testing and move aircraft PT1 and PT2 towards certification.

It is equipped a TM/HAL Ardiden 1U/Shakti 1U single turboshaft engine and can carry six passengers with two pilots.

The LUH can operate as a transport helicopter and perform reconnaissance, transport, cargo load, and rescue operations.

Principal orders are already in place for a total of 187 LUHs from HAL, with 126 helicopters for the Indian Army and the remaining 61 for the country’s Air Force.

SHAL LUH PT-1 conducted the first flight in September 2016.

The second prototype PT-2 performed its maiden flight on 22 May 2017.

The LUH will undergo high altitude cold weather trials this January.