‘Certification Will Take Place This Month and First Delivery of the ‘Rudra’ as Called by the Army will Take Place This Year’
 Managing director, Helicopter Complex, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, P. Soundara Rajan    

Managing director, Helicopter Complex, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, P. Soundara Rajan
What is the status of the Dhruv programme as of now?
We have completed two years of deliveries and are now commencing the third year. The Dhruv is flying with operational units at the highest airfields. We are currently meeting the requirements of the Army and Indian Air Force (IAF) with regards to production and delivery of the Dhruv Mk-3 which is the utility variant with specific weapon sensors asked for by individual customers.

The weapons and weapons sensor coupled together make up the Mk-4 variant. The integration of weapons and weapons sensors on the Dhruv Mk-4 variant is now in the last lap of certification. If things go ahead as planned then the certification will take place this month and the first delivery of the ‘Rudra’ as called by the Army will take place this year. We will then get user feedback and also look at high altitude trials for the Mk-4.

Weapons will be integrated in two phases. Right now we are integrating whatever has been selected, later we will look at additional weapons. Weapons integration takes between 18 to 20 months depending on the type of weapon selected and the quantum of integration work that needs to be performed. We have done one trial with the Defence Research Development Organisation’s (DRDO) HELINA Anti Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) and conducted separation trials. We have given feedback to the DRDO and they are working on the same.
Ultimately Helina will be integrated on the Dhruv Mk-4. We have also given a proposal to the users to retrofit the glass cockpit onto the Dhruv Mk-1, and are awaiting a response. Integration of Very High Frequency Omni-Directional Range (VOR) systems and Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) is also complete and will receive certification along with the Mk-4. We will certainly look towards a Dhruv Mk-5 variant based on whatever indigenous systems are likely to be available in the future to replace some of the imported systems that we have presently. Dhruv has the potential to cross 500 units with both military and civil demand. We expect it to be in production till 2020.

What are the results of the investment into manufacturing techniques and processes for Dhruv?

We have invested a lot of money on the production line for Dhruv and interchange ability has dramatically improved while noise and vibration levels have been greatly reduced. The aesthetic aspects have improved greatly and in comparison with the Mk-2 one can see significant improvements in terms of aesthetics, noise and vibration, reparability, maintainability etc. The new tooling has given us a lot of advantages in terms of manufacturability and manufacturing rate.
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