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Officials from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) have confirmed their consideration of the Future Vertical Lift program under Project Lakshya. This development comes after the commencement of work on the 13-ton Indian Multi-Role Helicopter (IMRH), which is being developed to meet the requirements of both the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army. These requirements include replacing nearly 400 ageing Russian-supplied Mi-17-I Medium Class Helicopters over the next two decades.

While no specific timeline has been provided for the Future Vertical Lift program, insiders suggest that the IMRH design may be optimized in the future. This optimization could involve incorporating two counter-rotating rigid blades that rotate in opposite directions, along with a rear pusher prop.

The Indian Army had previously expressed interest in the US Army’s Future Vertical Lift program, which aims to develop a high-speed, long-range military helicopter to replace the current fleet of UH-60 Black Hawks. However, due to limitations in accessing next-generation helicopter technology, the Indian Army settled for the conventional Medium Transport Helicopter design for the IMRH.

In contrast, the US Army has selected Bell’s V-280 Valor advanced tiltrotor to replace the UH-60 Black Hawk, with plans to begin the transition in 2030. HAL’s Future Vertical Lift program, set to be initiated after the IMRH program, is still in its early stages, with induction scheduled for 2040, post-2030.

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