LADAKH: The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has completed the high-altitude trials on, 07 October, in Leh. The Army Aviation Corps Commander Lt. General AK Suri visited the Corp’s Leh and forward areas squadrons like Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) and Siachen glacier. He flew a sortie in the Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) and trials for the same have been successfully completed tweeted Udhampur headquartered Northern Command of Indian Army on Thursday.
After the flight trials, the government-owned HAL will carry out the maiden test flight in August 2022. Post that the helicopter will enter into a limited series production.
For four decades, the Cheetahs and Chetak helicopters have formed the backbone of the Indian Armed Forces, the ageing fleet which is impacting the operational capability of the forces especially on the forward post in Siachen.
In recent years, the number of accidents has been increased at a pace that again sheds the spotlight on the Helos to be replaced with modern machinery. But the government’s moving speed is at a snail’s pace and is stuck at the procurement cycle.
However, in 2015, India had signed a government-to-government deal with Russia to procure 200 Kamov 226T helicopters. But the negotiation committee is still stuck at the procurement cycle at different stages of cost acquisition, transfer of technology and manufacturing of the helicopter.
LUH’s completed trials come as a sigh of relief for both the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force. Earlier the MoD has confirmed that both the services will procure LUHs as part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative introduced in 2020 to support domestic manufacturers and become self-reliant in defence production.