Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will reveal the mock-up of India’s first indigenous multi-role helicopter at the Aero India exhibition beginning in Bengaluru next week. The medium-category helicopter is sought after by the services, and such helicopters have so far been imported.

“The main attraction of HAL’s indoor pavilion on 1,282 sqm is a mock-up of the Indian Multi-Role Helicopter,” HAL said in a statement last week.

Production on demand
HAL is expected to put up the initial design before the services for their response, and the “design and development will commence based on a firm demand from the Army and the Air Force.”

It is planned as a twin-engine helicopter in the 10-tonne category, capable of flying at a height of 15,000 feet, and with a range of 500 km. It can perform several tasks, including counter-insurgency operations, casualty evacuation and combat search and rescue.

“It is envisaged as per the operational requirements of the military and to suit the high-altitude requirements of the Army and the Air Force. The preliminary design phase is under way,” defence sources said.

The helicopter is designed to carry 24 fully equipped troops or 18 persons in the VVIP role. “It can be a good substitute for the Russian built Mi-17, which is in use, and also fit the Navy’s requirement for medium-lift helicopters,” the sources said. HAL is building the 5.5-tonne Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv, which is operational in large numbers. The Light Combat Helicopter is in an advanced stage of induction and a Light Utility Helicopter is under development.

Long-range aircraft

A proposal to develop six long-range surveillance aircraft on the Airbus A330 platform is due to go before the Defence Acquisition Council this month, Defence R&D Secretary and DRDO Chairman S. Christopher said on Sunday.

DRDO expects to develop the AWACS (air-borne warning and control systems) after the proposal is approved by the CCS and the purchase deal is signed, Dr. Christopher said on the sidelines of the Aero India seminar.