In the works for Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) of India is a new medium-lift helicopter currently (and rather generically) titled the "Indian Multi-Role Helicopter" (IMRH). To compete in its class, the design intends to challenge several other global participants in the potentially lucrative rotary-wing market. The market is made more lucrative by the fact that many military services of the world will soon be looking to upgrade a stock of rotary-wing platforms that maintain origins in the Cold War (1947-1991). The IMRH is being developed to challenge current players in the 10- to 15-ton class market and will be similar in battlefield form and function to such types as the American Sikorsky UH-60 "Black Hawk" and Russian Mil Mi-17 transport lines.
With nearly 300 helicopters of its own reaching their maximum age and operational usefulness - namely Soviet-era Mil Mi-8 and Mi-17 types - the Indian military will itself be seeking such a product in the near future. HAL is already involved in the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), and "Dhruv" rotary-wing programs. The IMRH stems from an earlier Indian initiative (cancelled in 2009) seeking a similar air system and foreign partners. Changing Indian military service requirements ultimately led to this program being scrapped.
The clean sheet design (with listed specifications subject to change as the program develops) will utilized a pair of turboshaft engines rated at around 2,415 horsepower each (with FADEC, "Full-authority Digital Engine Control") and these will be used to drive a main rotor and tail rotor unit in standard arrangement. Composites figure heavily in its construction for a lightweight, yet rugged, approach. Range is estimated at about 500 miles with a service ceiling up to 21,500 feet and maximum speed of 170 miles per hour. A payload capacity of 9,920lb is stated along with an operating crew of two and an MTOW of 24,000lb.
During Aero India 2017, HAL unveiled a full-sized mockup of the proposed helicopter and its appearance is very much in line with modern French medium-lift offerings. The engines are seated atop the passenger cabin and a five-blade main rotor sits close to the engine housing. The pilots are given excellent vision out-of-the-cockpit thanks to liberal use of windshields. Windows dot the sides of the cabin and doors allow for easy entry-exit. The tail rotor is offset to the starboard side and sports four blades. The undercarriage is wheeled and presumably retractable.
Beyond its assumed military value, the IMRH will no doubt be marketed to civilian and industry sectors for maximum return of investment. A first-flight is tentatively scheduled for sometime in 2019 but the Indian aero-industry is notorious for lengthy developmental periods concerning aircraft so this is subject to change. Service entry would not be until sometime in the 2020s.
(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.
52.5 ft (16.00 m)
53.5 ft (16.30 m)
17.2 ft (5.25 m)
23,997 lb (10,885 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base HAL Indian Multi-Role Helicopter (IMRH) production variant)
2 x Turboshaft engines of 2,415 horsepower (or similar) of unknown make and model driving a five-bladed main rotor and four-bladed tail rotor.
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