India's newly-developed Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) completed hot weather and high altitude trials in Himalayas which lasted 10 days and the aircraft “is now ready for Initial Operational Clearance”.
India's indigenously-developed Light Utility Helicopters successfully complete hot and high altitude trials in Himalayas and are ready for initial operational clearance pic.twitter.com/HtYEEt6Hep— Aakriti Sharma (@_aakritisharma) September 9, 2020
A comprehensive test plan including envelope expansion, performance and flying qualities was executed at Leh, 3,300 metres above sea level, the statement from the developer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited reads on Wednesday. The aviation behemoth termed the performance of the helicopter and its systems as satisfactory, fulfilling the requirements of the users.
The three-tonne class new generation helicopter demonstrated its high hover performance at Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) at 5,000 metres above sea level. The LUH further demonstrated its high-altitude payload capability at Siachen glacier. The pilots made successful landings at the highest helipads: Amar and Sonam.
When equipped with a Safran HE Ardiden-1U engine, the helicopter weighs 3,150 kg and is capable of flying at 220 kilometres per hour, and can travel a distance of 350 km with a 400 kg payload in one go.
The LUH will replace the military’s ageing Cheetah and Chetak light helicopters. India faces a shortage of over 400 helicopters in this category.
Amid the ongoing border stand-off with China, the Indian Air Force has also deployed its Chinook and Apache attack helicopters in the region.
With the first time firing incident in Ladakh’s Pangong Tso along the 4,057 km Line of Actual Control on 7 September, tensions have heightened further between the Asian neighbours. Several rounds of diplomatic and military-level talks have failed to bring about a disengagement along the border.