HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) of India is developing the "Light Utility Helicopter" (LUH) to fulfill a joint-service requirement for its Army and Air Force calling for a light-class multi-role utility platform. A first-flight was recorded on September 6th, 2016 and the product remains in development with a single example completed. It was originally expected to take to the air during 2015 but delays in the program have seen mounting delays in project goals.
At its core, the helicopter is a traditionally-arranged, rotary-winged aircraft seating the single engine installation over the passenger cabin roof. In the cockpit is seating for two in a side-by-side arrangement. The cabin seats an additional six. Automobile-style doors grant access to the cockpit with sliding doors giving entry/exit to the passenger space. Power is from a HAL (French Turbomeca) "Shakti" Model 1U turboshaft engine delivering 1,706 horsepower to a four-bladed main rotor over the fuselage and a four-bladed tail rotor offset to starboard. Vertical tail fins straddle the tail stem along its midway point and a sole vertical fin sits atop the extreme aft portion of the stem proper. The undercarriage is of a fixed skid-type arrangement, reducing the maintenance commitment, simplifying production and limiting per-unit procurement costs.
To date (2016), the Indian military is contracted for 384 total LUH systems with 187 set to be manufactured by HAL beginning in 2018. Further production will stem from elsewhere.
The LUH is one of several indigenous Indian aviation ventures, showcasing a desire to become more self-sufficient in the field of military equipment. Considering India is one of the top global importers of such goods, it behooves the nation to invest heavily into its own defense.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Special-Mission: MEDical EVACuation (MEDEVAC)
Extraction of wounded combat or civilian elements by way of specialized onboard equipment and available internal volume or external carrying capability.
✓Special-Mission: Search & Rescue (SAR)
Ability to locate and extract personnel from areas of potential harm or peril (i.e. downed airmen in the sea).
General transport functionality to move supplies/cargo or personnel (including wounded and VIP) over range.
Used in roles serving the commercial aviation market, ferrying both passengers and goods over range.
✓Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.
52.5 ft (16.00 m)
43.3 ft (13.20 m)
16.4 ft (5.00 m)
4,211 lb (1,910 kg)
6,945 lb (3,150 kg)
+2,734 lb (+1,240 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base HAL LUH (Light Utility Helicopter) production variant)
1 x HAL (Turbomeca) "Shakti" 1U turboshaft engine developing 1,706 horsepower and driving four-blade main rotor and four-blade tail rotor.
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