SOURCE: SATYAJEET KUMAR/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
Rotary-wing of Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) in Aero India 2017 displayed for the first time full-scale mock-up of its proposed development of Indian Multi-Role Helicopter (IMRH) program to replace India’s huge fleet of Mil Mi-8 and Mil Mi-17 Medium weight Helicopter already inducted in the Air force and Army by end of 2030.
Proposed 10-12 tonne helicopter will be an indigenous alternative and simple replacement for Mi-8/17 fleet which will come in two engine options. Recently HAL also announced plans to develop a Heavy attack class Helicopter in lines of AH-64 Apache helicopter which is been inducted in IAF and Army based on the IMRH platform using technology already developed for HAL’s LCH and IMRH program in near future.
As we move into the future and since these helicopters will only come post-2030 to 2040 period, while Helicopter technology might have moved to different level all together by then. HAL also needs to see the change which is currently underway in the rotor technology and how US’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program will set new benchmarks in the Helicopter technology as the Rotor and stealth technology evolves with better speed and reliability for the future.
HAL has simple plans for IMRH program, procure Two western engines for the program, put a Joint venture badge in this engine and manufacture them locally with spare and maintenance support, start its development and wait for orders from the armed forces while armed forces are been pitched about next-generation helicopter technology from foreign companies.
Designs showcased by HAL for the IMRH program is simple and basic with no path-breaking rotor or stealth technology in it to make it future proof and to be combat-ready for future warfare. US’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) and Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program plan to replace UH-60 Black Hawks, MH-60 Romeo, AH-64 Apaches which we are presently buying and their are high chances that the present users of this platforms will be pitched for sale of their successors and again this can lead to purchasing of new helicopters which our forces will consider as superior.
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