Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has conducted hot weather and high-altitude trials of the locally developed Light Utility Helicopter (LUH).

Testing was carried out by pilots from HAL, the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Army in the Himalayas during the period between 24 August and 2 September.

The LUH demonstrated its high-altitude capability and met all user requirements during testing, HAL stated.

HAL chief managing director R Madhavan said that the completion of the testing brings the helicopter close to operational clearance certification.

The LUH demonstrated a comprehensive test plan at an altitude of 3,300m in the Leh region in the Himalayas in temperatures up to 32°C. The trials tested envelope expansion, performance and flying qualities.

The team then tested the helicopter’s hot and high-hover performance at Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) at 5,000m. This was followed by another forward helipad at an altitude of 5,500m at 27°C.

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In a statement, HAL said: “While these extreme weather conditions imposed flight restrictions on all other civil and military aircraft, LUH flights were unhindered as it is designed for such operations.”

The chopper demonstrated the capability to deliver high reliability without the need for service support during its journey from Bengaluru, where the HAL is headquartered, and the high altitude trials.

The flight tests were performed in the presence of the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) Centre for Military Airworthiness & Certification (CEMILAC) and ORDAQA officials.

While CEMILAC is responsible for certification and qualification of military aircraft, ORDAQA is the agency for civil certification.

HAL has performed all planned tests during the period. Previously completed tests include hot weather trials, cold weather trials, and sea-level trials.

The LUH is designed as a replacement for the Cheetah and Chetak helicopters used by the IAF and the Indian Army.