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SOURCE: RAJESH AHUJA / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

Under development since 2015, HAL’s 1200kW Turboshaft engine is been readied for trials soon as per media reports. HTSE-1200 engine would be used as a power plant for 3 to 6-ton category helicopters and recently HAL announced that the first technology demonstrator was developed after the program achieved 100% speed run on the core engine and also competed Sea level trials of core engine successfully.

HTSE-1200 engine developed by HAL Engine Division at Koraput in association with Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL) and recently achieved a critical milestone when it developed Single Crystal Blade samples. HAL has also completed the manufacturing of parts and modular assemblies for the Power mode engine.

India co-developed Ardiden 1H1/ Shakti engine that powers the Dhruv and LCH (Light Combat Helicopter) helicopters and till now 250 of them have been produced to date. Ardiden 1H1/ Shakti engine is 1000kW Turboshaft engine. HAL estimates that India has a market for 1,000 Shakti engines as the Indian military plans to procure more HAL-developed LCH and LUH helicopters in near future to break this monopoly of the French company in India, In 2013 it was decided the company could offer a low-cost local substitute thus began the development of the HTSE-1200 engine program as an alternative.

HTSE-1200 engine in the next few months will be extensively tested on all parameters from the HAL facility in its near-production stage initially from the ground-based facility using a Test Helicopter mockup and later their and plans to manufacture a prototype that will be mated with the flying testbed helicopter to demonstrate the engine which over next few years will be tested in all parameters and conditions before it can enter production and can be offered as a local substitute to the HAL-Safran Ardiden 1H1/ Shakti engine.

HTSE-1200 engine will help break dependence on the French company for the supply of the engine but also create a local ecosystem of the indigenous engine that won’t be affected by any external export permissions. HTSE-1200 has been designed as a more powerful and much more fuel-efficient engine than the Ardiden 1H1/ Shakti engine but it will also need to be proved as a reliable powerplant and much more efficient not only in operating cost but also on the various parameters before the Indian military considers switch to the new engine.

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