Bengaluru, 2016: Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for HAL’s new Helicopter Manufacturing Facility at Biderehalla Kaval, Gubbi Taluk, Tumakuru, about 100 km from Bengaluru here on Jan 3.
With this, the small village has come on the world-map as it would be manufacturing machines that would protect the country.
The Prime Minister hoped that HAL would produce 600 helicopters in 15 year period and India’s Defence Forces would be the greatest beneficiary of this. “I want companies such as HAL to help the country reduce dependency on overseas suppliers”, he added. Mr. Modi congratulated HAL employees, past and present. “I believe that HAL has good manpower and technical knowhow to fulfill the future needs”, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, the Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar hoped that HAL will one day transform into a lead integrator and spearhead the development of aerospace eco-system in India. The Tumakuru facility would meet the country’s massive requirements in the Defence sector, he added.
Mr. Siddaramaiah, Chief Minister of Karnataka said that Karnataka has supported HAL all through since its inception and will continue to support by providing additional land for this project. He said the state is proud to have created conducive environment for the aerospace and defence sector with aerospace-park at Devanahalli.
HAL CMD, T. Suvarna Raju said HAL will continue to play a significant role in realizing Prime Minister’s missions like ‘Make-in-India’, ‘Digital India’ and ‘Skill India’ to achieve self-reliance in defence sector.
Light Utility Helicopter (LUH)
The LUH is 3-ton Class new generation helicopter being developed by HAL to meet the requirements of both military and civil operators. The helicopter with Glass Cockpit will be deployed for Reconnaissance and Surveillance roles and as a light transport helicopter. The helicopter will be capable of flying at 220 Kmph, with a service ceiling of 6.5 Km and a range of 350 Km with 400 Kg payload. LUH is powered by TM/HAL Ardiden 1U/Shakti 1U single turbo shaft engine with sufficient power margins to cater to demanding high altitude missions.
Design and development was launched in February 2009. The initial Ground Test Vehicle (GTV) run was completed on December 6, 2014. Operational clearance of the basic version is expected during 2016-17.
Advanced Light Helicopter (Dhruv)
The ‘Dhruv’- Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) is a multi-role, new generation helicopter in the 5.5-ton weight class, indigenously designed and developed by HAL. With twin Turbomeca TM 333 2B2 or Shakti engine configuration, it provides superlative performance throughout its flight envelope. It is suited for high speed cruise for rapid deployment and to maximize the area of operations. The basic helicopter is produced in skid version and wheeled version. In the wheeled version, options for fixed and retractable undercarriages are available.
Dhruv is built for military as well as civil applications for which the helicopter is certified by the Centre for Military Airworthiness & Certification (CEMILAC), India and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), India respectively. The utility version of the Dhruv helicopter can be used for VIP travel, commuter, search and rescue, emergency medical service, underslung load, disaster relief and offshore operations.
The Dhruv is suitable for increased payload at higher altitudes and has been developed for the Indian Air Force and Indian Army. More than 200 helicopters have been produced so far. The Armed version of the Dhruv, named Rudra, equipped with turreted gun, rockets, air-to-air missiles, EO POD, Helmet pointing system and Radar/Laser/Missile Warning Systems has received Initial Operational Clearance and is currently under production for the Indian Defence Forces.
Light Combat Helicopter (LCH)
LCH is a 5.5-ton class, combat helicopter designed and developed by HAL. It is powered by two Shakti engines and inherits many technical features of the Advanced Light Helicopter. The features that are unique to LCH are sleek and narrow fuselage, tri-cycle crashworthy landing gear, crashworthy and self sealing fuel tanks, armor protection, nuclear and low visibility features which makes the LCH lethal, agile and survivable.
The helicopter would have day/night targeting systems for the crew including the Helmet Pointed Sight and Electro-Optical Pod consisting of CCD camera/FLIR/Laser Range Finder (LRF)/Laser Designator (LD). The LCH is fitted with Self Protection Suite consisting of Radar/Laser Missile warning systems and Counter Measures Dispensing System (CMDS).
The first prototype helicopter had its inaugural flight on Mar 23, 2010. The second and third prototype had their first flight on June 28, 2011 and Nov 12, 2014. LCH TD4 completed its maiden flight on December 1, 2015. LCH has completed performance trials paving way for certification of basic configuration and a letter to this effect was handed over to HAL by CEMILAC in the presence of Defence Minister on Oct 16, 2015.
Cheetal is the re-engined version of the proven Cheetah helicopter. The old Artouste IIIB engine has been replaced with the modern fuel efficient TM333-2M2 engine from Turbomeca. This engine gives Cheetal improved payload at higher altitudes compared to Cheetah along with improved range and endurance. The Cheetal has been designed to incorporate upgraded features such as light weight electrically driven Artificial Horizon, Directional Gyro, GPS, VHF HOMER, Flight Monitoring System (FMS), Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and Emergency Locator Transmitter. This helicopter can also be used for highway and other patrol roles.
HAL has produced Cheetal for both IAF and Army. The first batch of Cheetal was inducted into IAF in 2009. Further orders for 20 Cheetals for the Indian Army and 10 Cheetals for the Indian Air Force have been received. The order for the Indian Army is being executed currently. Three Cheetals have been delivered to Afghanistan as well.