Representative file image. | Photo credit: PTI
The Coast Guard will set up a committee comprised of all stakeholders including Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), which will define the quality requirements for a single-engine maritime helicopter to replace its Chetak fleet, it said in a statement. It assesses the capabilities of the indigenous Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) to meet maritime challenges and serve as a Chetak replacement.
On Tuesday, the Coast Guard received the last of HAL’s 16 Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH)-MKIII under contract in March 2017 for a maritime role.
“We are proud to be associated with HAL and happy to issue a letter of intent for nine more helicopters. Despite COVID-19, HAL has delivered all helicopters in the shortest possible time with flawless production activities, which enables us to enhance India’s maritime security,” said Director General of Coast Guard VS Pathania during the official ceremony in Bengaluru.
HAL’s President and Managing Director, CB Ananthakrishnan, said a unique feature of the contract was performance-based logistics, HAL’s one-stop solution for the maintenance of these helicopters. “This will serve as a benchmark for all our future contracts and reinforce our willingness to work with private partners to accelerate work for the benefit of all our customers and strengthen Make-in-India activities in the defense ecosystem” , did he declare. added.
HAL has so far produced over 330 ALH, a multi-role helicopter which has logged over 3.74 lakh flight hours.
LUH is a next-generation helicopter in the 3-ton class and incorporates state-of-the-art technological features like a glass cockpit with multi-function displays and is powered by a single turboshaft engine with ample power headroom.
Mr. Pathania, a helicopter pilot himself, undertook a first outing in the LUH prototype with Wg. Cdr. Anil Bhambani, HAL test pilot, to get a direct feel for the helicopter’s flight characteristics and advanced capabilities. “The sortie was intended to assess the helicopter’s capability against its viability in meeting maritime challenges while performing charter duties,” the statement said.