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SOURCE: RAUNAK KUNDE / NEWS BEAT / IDRW.ORG.

Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) is set to begin operations from the newly constructed helicopter plant at Biderehalla Kaval, Tumakuru district for the indigenously-developed light utility helicopters (LUHs), a 3-tonne category helicopter and plans to roll out the first 4 limited series production (LSP) LUH by March 2023 and another eight LSP LUHs by March 2024.

Chairman and Managing Director (CMD), HAL, R. Madhavan speaking to the media said that from 2024-25, the company will be able to manufacture 30 units per year when series production (SP) of the LUH starts but is also willing to scale the production line so that it can deliver 60 units per years if required.

The LUH is designed and developed as a replacement for the aging and accident-prone fleets of Cheetah and Chetak helicopters currently being flown by Indian armed forces. Initial requirement after the collapse of the Kamov Ka-226 deal with Russia means, the Indian Armed forces will have a requirement of 350-400 LUHs but with the current rate of production installed at the plant it will take over a decade to meet its Indian armed forces requirements.

idrw.org has been told by Industrial sources that the HAL has told Armed forces that the additional production capabilities can be gradually increased in two phases from 40 to 60 units per year by 2027-28 if the combined order exceeds the 300 unit mark.

HAL is also keen to explore the civilian market in the country for the LUH and already has signed an Intent of Cooperation with Pawan Hans Ltd for the future sale of 10 LUH. HAL estimates that the Military export and domestic Civilian market can bring in an additional sale of 100 orders for the LUH. HAL is also keen to bid on the Navy’s 111 unit requirement for the naval utility helicopters (NUHs) for which it is ready to demonstrate a ship-borne LUH in near future.

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