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HAL receives IOC for Light Utility Helicopter

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Lucknow, Feb 07: The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has received the Initial Operational Clearance for production of the Light Utility Helicopter, which is set to replace the ageing fleet of Cheetah and Chetak helicopters of the Indian armed forces, the company said on Friday.

R Madhavan, CMD, HAL, received the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) document from G Sateesh Reddy, Secretary, Department of Defence R & D, and Chairman, DRDO, at the Bandhan programme held during the ongoing DefExpo 2020 here on Friday, a statement issued by the HAL said.

HAL receives IOC for Light Utility Helicopter

The document was handed over in the presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and others, it added.

Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) is a single-engine, lightweight and highly agile three-ton utility helicopter, indigenously designed and developed to meet the operational requirements of the Army and the Indian Air Force.

The LUH will soon replace the ageing fleet of Cheetah and Chetak helicopters.

Madhavan said the development was a momentous occasion for the HAL.

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"It reinforces our commitment towards indigenous R&D programmes on self-reliance and enhancing operational effectiveness of the Indian armed forces. The HAL is fully geared up to fulfil the requirements of its customers in a time-bound manner," he said.

Arup Chatterjee, Director, Engineering and R&D, HAL, said the performance of basic configuration of the LUH in all terrains and under all weather conditions was satisfactory.

"The HAL is moving towards the next phase of integrating and flight testing of mission and role equipment on the LUH," he said.

The statement said one LUH prototype is part of flying display and another is part of the static display at the DefExpo 2020.

Three prototypes have been built and cumulatively completed over 550 flights under various terrains and climatic conditions like cold weather, hot weather, sea-level and high-altitude, complying to stringent certification and user requirements, it said.

The LUH's endurance and reliability were established during the hot weather and high-altitude trials where it was ferried from Bengaluru, covering over 7,000-km distance and continuously flying for 17 days without any abnormalities, the statement said.

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