Developed to replace the ageing Cheetah and Chetak helicopters, LUH has 187 orders
The Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has achieved an important milestone of flying at 6 km altitude in Bengaluru, recently. The chopper was flown by chief test pilot Wg Cdr Unni K Pillai (Retd) and test pilot, Wg Cdr Anil Bhambhani (Retd).
“The helicopter exhibited satisfactory performance and handling qualities. With the completion of this milestone, LUH can now undertake high-altitude cold weather trials planned in January 2019,” HAL said in a statement.
Flying at 6 km altitude is a critical requirement towards the certification of LUH, and this represents a significant achievement for the development team at HAL. The helicopter was flown to undergo envelope expansion tests, it has a permitted height limit of 6.5 km.
Being the new generation helicopter, LUH is designed and developed by Rotary Wing Research and Design Centre (RWR&DC) of HAL to replace the ageing Cheetah and Chetak helicopters used by Indian Armed Forces. The LUH’s first prototype, PT-1, first flew on 6 September 2016 and the second prototype flew on 22 May 2017.
Developed indigenously by HAL, having in principal order for 187 LUHs that includes 126 for Indian Army and 61 for IAF, LUH will meet requirements of both military and civil operators. The helicopter with glass cockpit can be deployed for reconnaissance, surveillance roles and as a light transport helicopter.
The new generation copter is powered by TM/HAL Ardiden 1U/Shakti 1U single turbo shaft engine with sufficient power margins to cater to demanding high altitude missions.