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Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) is gearing up for a significant milestone as it prepares to test the Autopilot system on its 3t Light Utility Helicopter (LUH). This cutting-edge technology marks a crucial step in the LUH’s journey towards entering Indian military service. Having already received its initial operational clearance from the Indian Army in 2021, the LUH is poised to become a game-changer in India’s aviation landscape.

With the Indian Army expressing keen interest in the LUH, HAL has received a Letter of Intent from the Services for the manufacture of 12 LUH units. However, the Army has put forth one crucial condition before finalizing the order— the incorporation of the Autopilot system. The Army’s insistence on this advanced feature underlines its commitment to enhancing operational capabilities and ensuring the highest standards of safety during missions.

The LUH’s Autopilot system is designed to significantly augment its flight control capabilities, offering precise and automated control during critical phases of flight. This technological advancement is expected to streamline operations, reduce pilot workload, and enhance overall mission effectiveness. As HAL commences the testing phase, the Autopilot system’s successful integration will pave the way for a formal order from the Indian Army, strengthening the nation’s military aviation prowess.

The LUH’s entry into the Indian military’s service is timely and strategic. The Indian Army has set its sights on replacing its ageing Cheetah and Chetak Light Utility Helicopters with 110 modern and agile LUHs. The LUH’s versatility, advanced features, and reliability position it as a formidable contender to fulfil the Army’s requirements.

Notably, the Army is not only interested in acquiring the LUHs but is also exploring the possibility of procuring Twin-engine coaxial Kamov Ka-226 Utility Helicopters from Russia. HAL, with its reputation as a premier aerospace manufacturer in India, is set to play a pivotal role in producing the Ka-226 helicopters locally, adhering to the ‘Make in India’ initiative. Twin-engine helicopters are preferred for high-altitude operations, as they provide an additional level of security and redundancy in challenging environments.

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