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HAL Dhruv (Polaris) - India, 2002


Detailing the development and operational history of the HAL Dhruv (Polaris) Multirole Medium-Lift Transport Helicopter.


 Entry last updated on 6/13/2017; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com



The HAL Dhruv is currently in service with Indian armed forces and has found customers in several countries around the world.







While still largely reliant on foreign suppliers, the Indian military industry has made strides in developing internal solutions to ongoing requirements. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has developed the "Dhruv" (meaning "Polaris") as a multirole, medium-lift helicopter to serve the Army, Air Force and Navy. Some 200 of the type have since been produced. Its armed combat version is the HAL "Rudra".

The Dhruv was unveiled in late 1984 and this stemmed from a 1979 requirement for a multirole military helicopter in the five-ton range. The process involved foreign assistance from the MBB concern of Germany - then West Germany. First flight was recorded on August 20th, 1992. However, the development phase was fraught with delays by way of technological challenges, sanctions, changing Army requirements (and its general commitment) and internal economic issues - its first flight was actually scheduled for 1989. This led to the platform finally attaining service introduction in March of 2002.

Another setback proved to be the engine of choice - the American LHTEC T800 turboshaft - which fell under embargo. This forced engineers to select a French-originated model in the Turbomeca TM333-2B2 turboshaft of 1,000 horsepower (India has held a close relationship with both France and Russia in recent decades). The selection of the French engine then involved assistance from French engineers which benefitted the program considerably.






At its core, the Dhruv is a largely conventional multirole platform. It sports a well-glazed cockpit seating two in a side-by-side arrangement. Aft of the cockpit is the passenger seating area straddled along either side by sliding access doors. The engines sit atop the cabin roof in the usual way and drive a four-bladed composite main rotor (low mounted) as well as a four-bladed tail rotor (by way of an extension shaft in the tail stem) fitted to the starboard side. The undercarriage is fixed as a twin skid assembly for simplicity in operation and repair though some versions have been seen with a retractable wheeled undercarriage as well. The raised tail stem allows a clamshell type access door to be fitted at the fuselage rear. The tail unit also contains a vertical fin (which mounts the drive gear for the tail rotor) and low-mounted horizontal planes (containing smaller vertical tail fins).

The Dhruv military form first appeared through the Mk.1 designation and this was a crude form of the intended design, featuring a mechanical-gauged cockpit. Production of these began in 2001 and some 56 were delivered. The Mk.2 introduced a locally-designed and developed (by HAL) all-glass cockpit for a more modern look. These were largely faithful to the Mk.1 version save for its advanced internals and production began in 2007. The Mk.3 was given uprated engines ("Shakti" engines of 1,200 horsepower), an improved countermeasures fit (chaff and flare dispensers), improved Electronic Warfare (EW) equipment, increased survivability and vibration control solutions. Introduction of this form came in 2012. The Mk.4 "Rudra" is the aforementioned armed combat model featuring an integrated weapons system.

The Dhruv also exists along civilian market lines in the C, CFW and CS models. These can seat as many as twelve passengers and have been in service since late 2003. The helicopter is in military service with (or scheduled to enter service with) the governments of Ecuador, India, Israel, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal and Suriname. In civilian airspace, the Dhruv has been seen in (or ordered by) India, Turkey and Peru. First export customers were Nepal and Israel.




HAL Dhruv Specifications



Service Year: 2002
Type: Multirole Medium-Lift Transport Helicopter
National Origin: India
Manufacturer(s): Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) - India
Total Production: 200


Structural (Crew, Dimensions, Weights)



Operating Crew (Typical): 2
Overall Length: 52.07 feet (15.87 meters)
Overall Width: 43.31 feet (13.20 meters)
Overall Height: 13.29 feet (4.05 meters)

Weight (Empty): 5,516 lb (2,502 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 12,125 lb (5,500 kg)

Power / Performance (Engine Type, Top Speed)



Engine: 2 x Shakti turboshaft engine developing 1,200 horsepower OR 2 x Turbomeca TM 333-2B2 turboshaft engines developing 1,000 horsepower each while driving a four-blade main rotor and a four-blade tail rotor.

Maximum Speed: 151 knots (174 mph; 280 kph)
Maximum Range: 447 nautical miles (514 miles; 827 km)
Service Ceiling: 27,500 feet (8,382 meters; 5.21 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 1,771 feet-per-minute (540 m/min)

Armament / Mission Payload



OPTIONAL (Armed Variant):
8 x Anti-tank missiles
4 x 68mm rocket pods
2 x Torpedoes
2 x Depth charges
4 x Anti-ship missiles

Global Operators (Customers, Users)



Bolivia; Burma; Ecuador; India; Israel; Maldives; Mauritus; Nepal; Peru; Suriname; Turkey

Model Variants



Dhruv - Base Series Production Designation
Rudra - Armed Combat Variant of the Dhruv