SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK
Chief designer G. Shamnath, of the Rotary Wing Research & Design Centre at HAL, is a happy man since the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), India’s first multi-role attack helicopter is weeks away from getting orders from the Indian Army and Indian Air force and he is equally excited about taking Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) program to its logical conclusion in coming months, but he already has set this eyes on the next big project that will be the development of the 13ton medium-lift Indian Multi-Role Helicopter (IMRH).
With the development and certification of three different light helicopters, not many are doubting HAL’s capabilities in the development of IMRH that are intended to replace the Mi-17 legacy helicopters that will start their outward retirement journey from 2028 onwards.
Russian-made Mi-8 predecessor of Mi-17 first entered service in India in 1971 and since then many variants of the successor Mi-17 helicopters have seen service and have proven as rigged and handy in various missions over the years that they have earned the trust and respect of the people who fly them and vouch their life on this machine. With successor Mi-38 already on the horizon and offer to India by Russia, HAL needs not only needs to pull its socks but also make IMRH attractive to the operators that are tuned to Mi-8/17 legacy helicopters.
idrw.org has been informed that Army, Air Force, and Navy all are backing the program but it’s for HAL to design and develop IMRH not only to replace Mi-8/17 helicopters in terms of capabilities but also match its rigged nature and ease of maintainability for the crew that operates it in some of the hostile weather conditions of our country, that not only pose many challenges to the availability and operations of this helicopters but also could be matter of life and death for the troops that depend on them from the ration, medical evacuation to ammo sorties.
300 ALH-Dhruv has proved its mettle on various missions in the country and the same is expected from the IMRH program, for that HAL continues to refine its design to make it more maintenance-friendly and surpass or match any other helicopter in its segments. Chief designer G. Shamnath knows that IMRH is trying to enter the shoes of a legendary Helicopter that is widely used the world over and respected by its crews, for that it is working on smaller technical aspects to build a configuration that will impress the Army, Air Force, and Navy for which user requirements of each user is being studied and each variant of IMRH based on their requirements have been proposed. HAL is confident that it can deliver on all fronts and configurations and will meet the expectations of the user. IMRH waits for formal approval from the Indian Government in the next 2-3 years.
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