HAL test flies Light Utility Helicopter's (LUH) second prototype

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HAL test flies Light Utility Helicopter's (LUH) second prototype
HAL test flies Light Utility Helicopter's (LUH) second prototype

Bengaluru : State-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) conducted the first flight of its Light Utility Helicopter's (LUH) second prototype here without a hitch, said the defence behemoth on Tuesday.

"The twin-seater chopper LUH PT-2 was flown for 22 minutes on Monday by our Chief Test Pilot Wing Commander (retired) Unni K. Pillai, and Test Pilot Wing Commander (retired) Anil Bhambhani at our facility in the city," said HAL in a statement here.

The three-tonne class new generation helicopter is being developed to meet the needs of both military and civil operators.

"The test flights of indigenous aircraft are testimony to our progress towards 'Make in India' campaign in fixed as well as rotary wing segments. The trials will qualify them for operational clearance cutting the timeframe," said HAL Chairman and Managaing Director T. Suvarna Raju on the occasion.

HAL has modified the second prototype's tail boom and improved its performance on the feedback of its first prototype's test flight here on September 6, 2016, and its maiden flying demo at the 11th Aero India international air show at the Indian Air Force (IAF) base in Yelahanka on the city's northern outskirts in mid-February.

"We will carry out more flight tests of both the prototypes (PT1 and PT2) over the months to freeze the chopper's configuration by this year-end," asserted Raju.

The envelope expansion flights of the first prototype are being conducted for the configuration.

"The glass cockpit equipped LUH will be used by the IAF and the Indian Army for reconnaissance and surveillance, as it is capable of flying at 220 kmph speed at 6.5-km altitude and cover 350 km non-stop with 400 kg payload," noted Raju.

Powered by single turbo shaft engine for even high-altitude missions, the LUHs will be rolled out at the company's integrated facility in Tumakuru, with systems and components, composites, transmission system, ground test and flight test facilities and repair and overhauling facilities.

Tumakuru is about 70 km from Bengaluru in the state's southern region.

The company's basic trainer aircraft HTT-40's second prototype was test flown here for the first time on May 19.