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Light Utility Helicopter, developed by HAL, clears high altitude tests

The Bengaluru-based HAL said in a statement that the trials were carried out by the test pilots from HAL, IAF and the Army from August 24 to September 2, 2019.

Light Utility Helicopter, developed by HAL, clears high altitude tests

BENGALURU: State-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) on Thursday said that the indigenously designed and developed Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) has successfully completed high altitude tests in the Himalayas. The Bengaluru-based HAL said that the trials were carried out by the test pilots from HAL, IAF and the Army from August 24 to September 2, 2019.

HAL released a statement saying that the LUH successfully demonstrated high altitude capability in hot and high weather conditions in the Himalayas. The Chairman and Managing Director of HAL, R Madhavan, said that LUH managed to comply with all the requirements placed before it by the users.

"All planned tests were successfully demonstrated. A comprehensive test plan was executed at Leh (3,300 metres) in temperatures up to Internationa Standard Atmosphere (ISA) +32 degrees celsius which included envelope expansion, performance and flying qualities. The LUH then lifted off from Leh and demonstrated its hot and high hover performance at Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) at 5,000 metres followed by another forward helipad (5,500 m at ISA +27°C),” read the HAL statement.

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The statement noted that while these extreme weather conditions impose flight restrictions on all other civil and military aircraft, LUH continued to fly without any problem as it is designed for such operations.

The LUH succeeded in completing a 3,000-kilometer journey from Bengaluru to Leh over a period of three days traversing many civil and military airfields. According to HAL, this highlights the LUH's "high reliability without any service support." 

The composite trials team included designers, flight test crew of HAL, the Indian Air Force and Indian Army. Representatives of CEMILAC and ORDAQA witnessed the trials for military and civil certification requirements respectively.

The flights were completed by an HAL flight test team led by Wg Cdr (Retd) Unni Pillai, CTP(RW) and accompanied by Wg Cdr (Retd) Anil Bhambani, Gp Capt (Retd) Pupinder Singh, Gp Capt V Panwar, Wg Cdr A Jena, a representative from the Air Force Gp Capt R Dubey and Lt Col R Grewal from the Indian Army.

The LUH completed hot weather trials at Nagpur in 2018, cold weather trials at Leh in 2019, sea level trials at Chennai in 2018 and at Puducherry in 2019. HAL has developed the LUH, which is a single-engine chopper, to replace Cheetah and Chetaks helicopters which have been used by the Army and the IAF for several years.