The technical flight of indigenous Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) was today successfully conducted in Bengaluru, a major forward movement in meeting the military’s requirement for such choppers.
The first flight of the 3.1 tonne prototype developed by Hindustan Aeronautics to replace the ageing Cheetah and Chetak fleets of the armed forces, took place for about 15 minutes.
“The helicopter lifted at 1210 hours and was in the air for 15 minutes at HAL facilities. The flawless flight was carried out by HAL test pilots,” an official statement said.
While ground tests for the LUH were concluded in 2015, the first flight had been held up due to certification issues in the chopper’s software.
The LUH programme has been in the works since 2008 and the armed forces needed them desperately.
Apart from replacement of ageing fleet of Cheetah/Chetak, LUH is expected to capture a sizeable share both in domestic and international market.
The LUH has a maximum All-Up-Weight (AUW) of 3150 Kgs, fitted with Safran HE Ardiden-1U engine of 750 KW power, with a range of 350 Km, service ceiling 6.5 km, seating capacity of six passengers plus two pilots.
The helicopter is designed to carry out various utility roles such as reconnaissance, transport, cargo load and rescue operations. The helicopter can operate from sea level to high altitudes of Himalayas.