Turbomeca to power HAL’S light copter
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.