Tur­bomeca to power HAL’S light copter

SP's MAI - - SP’S EXCLUSIVES -

Af­ter a pro­tracted ef­fort to iden­tify a suit­able engine for the in-de­vel­op­ment light util­ity he­li­copter, HAL has fi­nally cho­sen the Tur­bomeca 1U Ari­den, a close vari­ant of the 1H1 Shakti that pow­ers the ALH Dhruv and light com­bat he­li­copter. The Shakti beats out the Honey­well-Rolls Royce LHTEC CTS-800 that was also in con­tention.

It may be re­meme­bered that the Shakti, which had been nearly the de­fault choice ini­tially, was set aside and a com­pet­i­tive process taken up fol­low­ing dis­agree­ments over li­cens­ing for the LUH. HAL choice ap­pears to sug­gest that any prob­lems with Tur­bomeca have since been sorted out. A first ground test ve­hi­cle is like to be tested by the mid­dle of 2014, with a first flight in 2015. HAL is de­vel­op­ing the plat­form to meet a 187 he­li­copter re­quire­ment for the Army and IAF. With the 197 re­con­nais­sance and sur­veil­lance he­li­copter (RSH) hang­ing fire with no guid­ance or de­ci­sion, the pres­sure on HAL to speed up the pro­gramme and de­liver is even higher. The LUH will have a full glass cock­pit and be de­vel­oped in three dif­fer­ent vari­ants to meet re­quire­ments. The plat­form will move straight from pro­to­type to se­ries pro­duc­tion, with no in­ter­ven­ing limited se­ries pro­duc­tion phase, re­veal sources.

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