Saturday, May 27, 2017

HAL Flies A Second Light Utility Helicopter

Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) flew a second prototype of its Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) on May 22. The flight lasted approximately 22 minutes, said the government-owned manufacturer. HAL has an order for 187 LUHs from the Army Aviation Corps and the Indian Air Force, to help replace the aging Cheetah (Alouette II) and Chetak (Alouette III) fleet.

The LUH design is derived from HAL’s Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), and its single Safran Ardiden 1U turboshaft engine is derived from the Ardiden 1H, two of which power the ALH. Certification of the Ardiden 1U—named the Shakti in India—is planned for 2018. HAL said that the engine “has sufficient power margins to cater to demanding high-altitude missions.” Benoit Gadefait, vice president, Safran medium helicopter engines program, said: “The  LUH will benefit from robust support under a new joint venture, formed recently by Safran and HAL [Helicopter Engines MRO Pvt. Ltd], to provide MRO to engines installed on HAL-built helicopters,” The facility in Goa has the capacity to service 50 engines a year.

Compared with the first LUH, which made its maiden flight last September, the second one has a modified tailboom. HAL said it hopes to freeze the configuration by year-end.
26/05/17 Neelam Mathews/AINonline

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