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Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has announced the development trials of the Utility Helicopters (Marine) (UH Marine) for the Indian Navy will begin later this year. This new variant, based on the successful ALH Dhruv platform, is specifically designed for ship-borne operations.

The UH Marine incorporates significant modifications to excel in the demanding maritime environment. This includes a foldable main rotor and tail section, enabling compact storage on warships.

The design caters to the Indian Navy’s specific requirements, likely including improved corrosion resistance, advanced navigation systems suitable for maritime operations, and potentially enhanced payload capacity.

Before user trials begin, the UH Marine will undergo demonstrations of its key modified systems, including the crucial foldable rotor and tail section. This allows for thorough testing and risk mitigation before involving the Navy.

The successful completion of these demonstrations paves the way for user trials, potentially within the year. Assuming successful user trials and subsequent production ramp-up, the Indian Navy expects the UH Marine to be ready for deployment by 2025-2026.

The current ALH Dhruv MK IV helicopters operated by the Navy are limited to shore-based operations. The Indian Navy has expressed interest in procuring 60 UH Marine helicopters once they enter production, likely starting around 2026. This significant acquisition will bolster India’s naval aviation capabilities and strengthen its maritime security posture.

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