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HAL Dhruv (Polaris)

Multirole Medium-Lift Transport Helicopter

India | 2002

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

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/02/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
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.

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December 2018 - The homegrown Dhruv is a contender to fulfill a requirement for fourteen Indian Coast Guard helicopters. It is being challenged by the French Airbus Helicopters H225M form.

February 2019 - HAL of India has unveiled a navalized mock-up of its Dhruv helicopter at Aero India 2019. This version of the helicopter will sport folding main rotor blades and a completely folding tail unit for storage aboard space-strapped warships. Power to the vehicle will be through 2 x Shakti 1H1 turboshaft engines of 1,032 horsepower each. The primary target of this venture is the Indian Navy which seeks to fill a standing requirement for 111 utility-minded helicopters. The entry faces stiff competition from established products originating from Bell and Lockheed Martin of the United States, Airbus Helicopters of France, and Kamov of Russia.

Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the HAL Dhruv Multirole Medium-Lift Transport Helicopter.
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.
174 mph
280 kph | 151 kts
Max Speed
27,500 ft
8,382 m | 5 miles
Service Ceiling
514 miles
827 km | 447 nm
Operational Range
1,771 ft/min
540 m/min
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the HAL Dhruv Multirole Medium-Lift Transport Helicopter.
52.1 ft
15.87 m
O/A Length
43.3 ft
(13.20 m)
O/A Width
13.3 ft
(4.05 m)
O/A Height
5,516 lb
(2,502 kg)
Empty Weight
12,125 lb
(5,500 kg)
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the HAL Dhruv (Polaris) Multirole Medium-Lift Transport Helicopter .
OPTIONAL (Armed Variant):
8 x Anti-tank missiles for ranged tank-killing.
4 x 68mm rocket pods for basic ground attack.
2 x Torpedoes for submarine-/ship-hunting.
2 x Depth charges for submarine-hunting.
4 x Anti-ship missiles for ship-hunting.
Notable series variants as part of the HAL Dhruv (Polaris) family line.
Dhruv - Base Series Production Designation
Rudra - Armed Combat Variant of the Dhruv
Dhruv NUH - Naval Utility Helicopter proposal for the Indian Navy; debuted at Aero India 2019; featuring folding main rotor blades and folding tail rotor unit; 2 x Shakti 1H1 turboshaft engines.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the HAL Dhruv (Polaris). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 231 Units

Contractor(s): Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) - India
National flag of Bolivia National flag of Ecuador National flag of India National flag of Israel National flag of Peru National flag of Turkey

[ Bolivia; Burma; Ecuador; India; Israel; Maldives; Mauritus; Nepal; Peru; Suriname; Turkey ]
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Image of the HAL Dhruv (Polaris)
Image from official HAL marketing material.

Going Further...
The HAL Dhruv (Polaris) Multirole Medium-Lift Transport Helicopter appears in the following collections:
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