On the auspicious occasion of Dhanteras, a proposal for 12 Light Utility Helicopters from the state owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) was approved by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC).
On Tuesday Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) was accorded for capital acquisition proposals amounting to Rs 7, 965 crore for the modernisation of the armed forces. In the DAC meeting under the chairmanship of the defence minister gave its approval for the proposals which are under the Make in India initiative and the focus is on design and development and then to be produced in India.
Wait is over for the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army.
Approval has been given for 12 Light Utility Helicopters.
Highly placed sources have confirmed to Financial Express Online that these 12 helicopters are meant for the IAF and the Indian Army. Both services will get six each.
“The LUH attained Operational Clearance last February. And a Letter of Intent for 12 LUH was received by the HAL in March this year, against which production activities are progressing,” sources confirmed.
For expediting the production of these flying machines, a new Helicopter Factory is in the process of being set up at Tumakuru. This facility, according to sources, will become operational by March 2022 and will have the capability of producing 30 helicopters every year.
Sources have also indicated that non-placement of sufficient order in time would cause delay in production due to the non-availability of critical items and would also lead to idling of capacities.
These helicopters as has been reported in Financial Express Online earlier will replace the ageing Chetak and Cheetah Helicopters which were designed six decades back and will come under Limited Series Production (LSP).
The very first helicopter will be delivered in August 2022.
Why are these helicopters important?
After today’s DAC approval, the formal contract will be signed soon. These are meant for transporting critical supplies in high altitude, as well used for transporting men, evacuation and reconnaissance.
The Indian forces need at least 400 helicopters and HAL is expected to provide around 175 helicopters to meet the requirements.
Kamov 226T helicopters
Due to issues related to costs and indigenous content, production of Kamov 226T Helicopters is on hold.
These helicopters through Transfer of Technology (ToT) were expected to be manufactured under a joint venture Indo-Russian Helicopters Ltd (IRGL) – involving HAL and two Russian companies – Rosboronexport and Russian Helicopters.
More about LUH
These helicopters are capable of operating in high altitude, and will be the lifeline for the Indian armed forces that are deployed in Siachen Glacier or in the Galwan Valley.
These helicopters are powered by a single turbo shaft engine Ardiden 1U, which is from Safran Helicopter Engine, France.
Earlier this year, the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) for the Indian Army was received from Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC) earlier this year. Last year, the IOC for the LUH IAF version was awarded by CEMILAC.
It has been designed as per the specifications shared by the two services – to carry out armed roles as well deployed for utility roles.
Comes with a range of 500 km with internal fuel tanks and has a service ceiling of 21,325 ft.
This helicopter has a Smart Cockpit Display System and a maximum speed of 235 kmph has a maximum take-off weight of 3150 kg.
Other proposals approved today
For enhancing detection and tracking and engagement capabilities of the Indian Navy ships, Lynx U2 Fire Control System has been approved to be procured from Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).
For maritime reconnaissance and coastal surveillance, approval has been given for the Mid Life Upgradation of the Dornier Aircraft. This will be carried by the HAL.
And for the Indian Navy, quantity added to the upgraded Super Rapid Gun Mount (SRGM). These are being manufactured by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) and will be fitted on board the warships of the Indian Navy.