On 4th May, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Public Sector Company on behalf of its Rotary Wing Research and Design Centre (RWR&DC) division invited Request for Information (RFI) from reputed OEMs for supply of suitable turboshaft engines for powering Indian Multi-role Helicopter (IMRH) which is an upcoming 10-12.5 tonne class helicopter being developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Armed Services.

The technical details which has gone through requires following key details highlighted below

  • Dual Channel Full Authority Digital Electronic Control (FADEC) System suitable for twin engine application.
  • In flight relighting system
  • Maximum Continuous Power Rating (MCP) at Sea Level: 1650kw
  • Take off Power rating (TOP) at Sea Level: 1950kw
  • Engine Weight: within 250 kg (Dry)
  • Engine Temperature Operation: minus 40 deg C to plus 55 deg C
  • Altitude envelope : -500m to 6500m

After going through Key Technical requirements and few current Turboshaft does make the cut, but one engine which could be HAL’s favourite could be from its current line of suppliers which is Rolls-Royce Turbomeca RTM322 which currently been powered on AgustaWestland Apache, AgustaWestland AW101, NHIndustries NH90 Helicopter.

RTM322 Turboshaft engine has been specifically been designed for Medium Multi-Role Helicopters with over 1000 engine already been produced already. RTM322 has two variants 01/9 and 01/9A which can deliver Take off Power rating (TOP) ranging from 1811kw to 222okw and Maximum Continuous Power Rating (MCP) ranging from 1664kW to 1897kW.

Another critical requirement which is engine weight also clears this engine since it weighs only 228kgs. Others in competition will be American GE CT7-8F5 Turboshaft engine which also meets all the technical parameters.

Highly Popular Russian VK-2500-III Turboshaft engine which his widely used in India to power its Mi-17 and Mi-24 Hind Helicopter fleet will not be able to meet technical parameters since it has, Take off Power rating (TOP) of 1,764 kW and Maximum Continuous Power Rating (MCP) of 1,287 kW and has a Dry weight of 300 kg, unless Russians agree to develop or offers a new engine tailored made to meet India’s technical requirements .

Russia’s TV7-117V turboshaft engine which is specifically developed for medium-load helicopters and is used on Mil Mi-38, which is intended as a replacement for the Mil Mi-8 and the Mi-17 Helicopter fleet will meet MCP and TOP technical requirements but fails to meet Dry engine weight requirement of 250kgs since TV7-117V weighs 360kgs.

Pratt & Whitney PW127 turboshaft engine also fails to make the cut due to its Dry weight which is also over 300kgs and due to lack of experience of the company in the development of turboshaft engines for Helicopters.

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