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SOURCE: PRASAD CHAWAN / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

Hindustan Aeronautics limited (HAL) at Asia’s largest aerospace and defence major emerged with a show stopper when it unveiled a full-scale mock-up of Indian Multi Tole Helicopter (IMRH) in presence of Raksha Mantri Manohar Parrikar. Mockup on display was VIP Version but the larger aim is to replace a large fleet of Mil Mi-8/17s, as well as some naval helicopters.

The Proposed IMRH will be powered by Twin engines and will be equipped with an automatic flight control system (AFCS), mission systems and advanced cockpit displays.

HAL plans to develop multiple helicopters based on IMRH which can perform all major roles like Tactical Troop Transport, Casualty evaluation, underslung load, Combat Search & Rescue, Anti-surface operations,off-shore operations, Anti-Submarine operations, VIP/VVIP Transport and Air Ambulance.

HAL has decided to develop dedicated variants for Indian Army, Indian Air force, Indian Navy, Coastguard and Civilian variants as per their requirements. Indian Navy will have Utility, Anti-Submarine and even a naval airborne early warning and control role variants.

HAL has not announced any timelines for the project since it is still at the initial design stage but has expressed interest in foreign collaboration to reduce developmental timelines. On the engine front, HAL wants to collaborate with a foreign vendor to develop localised engine based on their design and the logical choice could be French manufacturer Turbomeca which has designed engines jointly with HAL for ALH, LCH and LUH helicopters all designed by HAL.

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