HAL’S LUH mak­ing progress


With the choice of engine locked (Tur­bomeca Ar­di­den 1U Shakti), the Hin­dus­tan Aero­nau­tics Ltd (HAL) is mov­ing for­ward with other as­pects of the light util­ity he­li­copter (LUH) for the three ser­vices. HAL has be­gun pro­cure­ment pro­cesses to ac­quire an ac­tive flight con­trol sys­tem, in­er­tial nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem, pas­sive vi­bra­tion iso­la­tion sys­tem (PVIS), emer­gency lo­ca­tor trans­mit­ter, dual mode anti-col­li­sion light, oxy­gen sys­tem, fuel pump, cargo hook sys­tem and hy­draulic pumps.

As re­ported ear­lier by SP’s M.A.I., HAL is un­der great pres­sure to speed up the pro­gramme, given that the re­con­nais­sance and sur­veil­lance he­li­copter (RSH) ac­qui­si­tion re­mains in limbo, with the De­fence Ac­qui­si­tion Coun­cil yet to take a fi­nal call on how to pro­ceed with the pro­cure­ment of 197 helicopters, cur­rently be­ing con­tended by Euro­copter and Kamov. Un­like the Is­raeli col­lab­o­ra­tion on the glass cock­pit for the ALH Dhruv, HAL will be in­vest­ing in a fully in­dige­nous glass cock­pit for the LUH that in­volves only In­dian com­pa­nies and joint ven­tures. Mar­ket­ing for the LUH will also be an en­tirely In­dian ef­fort. Top IAF sources said, “The he­li­copter con­cept is promis­ing, but it re­mains to be seen whether HAL can stick to time­lines. That will be the real test. The IAF would pre­fer to in­duct in­dige­nous plat­forms rather than im­port.”

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