Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)’s indigenously developed Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) demonstrated high altitude capability in Hot and High weather conditions in the Himalayas recently for about 10 days. A comprehensive test plan was executed at Leh (3300 MAMSL) in temperatures up to ISA+320C which included envelope expansion, performance and flying qualities. LUH took off from Leh and demonstrated its hot and high hover performance at Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) at 5000 MAMSL. The helicopter also demonstrated its payload capability in Siachen glacier high altitude. During the trials, pilots landed the helicopter at the highest helipads of Amar and Sonam.
HAL has once again proved its indigenous capability in design & development. The Army version of LUH is now ready for Initial Operational Clearance, said R. Madhavan, CMD, HAL. According to Arup Chatterjee, Director (Engineering and R&D), HAL, the performance of the helicopter and its systems are satisfactory fulfilling the requirements of the users. All planned tests were successfully demonstrated.
The flights were carried out by composite trial team which included pilots from HAL, Wg Cdr (Retd) Unni Pillai, CTP (RW), Wg Cdr (Retd) Anil Bhambani, Gp Capt (Retd) Pupinder Singh and Gp Capt V Panwar along with Gp Capt R Dubey, Sq Ldr Joshi (from Indian Air Force) and Lt Col R Grewal & Lt Col Pawan (from Indian Army).
Representatives from certification authority witnessed the trials. The Initial Operational Clearance for basic LUH was accorded by CEMILAC for IAF variant on 7 February 2020 during DefExpo 2020 at Lucknow in the presence of Defence Minister and the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.