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.”