Aero India 2021 next month will showcase a range of indigenously developed helicopters

By The Hindu

With emphasis on promoting defence exports, the India Pavilion at Aero India 2021 next month will showcase a range of indigenously developed helicopters while Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is scheduled to hold a conclave of Defence Ministers from the Indian Ocean Littoral (IOR) states, according to a senior defence official.

“We have matured in helicopters and have several in various categories. We are now capable of [designing and manufacturing] any kind of helicopter,” the official said.

A Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), a weaponised Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and a Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) will be on display inside the pavilion, the official said. A civilian version of the ALH will be on display outside. All these helicopters have been designed and manufactured by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

In addition to the Defence Ministers’ conclave, plans are also on to hold an Air Chiefs’ conclave. Also, about six to seven official delegations are expected to be there at Aero India in addition to various companies. With less than a month left for the biennial air show, construction of the halls and facilities is at advanced stages of completion.

Stating that there was a lot of interest in Aero India as other such major air shows have been cancelled, the official said, “More than 98% of the stalls are booked and about 93% of them have paid for it.”

LUH for Army
The LUH for the Army, which has completed all tests and also demonstrated its high-altitude capability in hot and high weather conditions last September, is likely to get the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) at the Aero India, the official said. The Air Force variant was accorded the IOC by the Centre for Military Airworthiness & Certification (CEMILAC) in February last year.

The LUH is a three-tonne helicopter positioned as replacement for the Cheetah and Chetak helicopters in service. According to HAL, it is capable of flying at 220 kmph, service ceiling of 6.5 km and a range of 350 km with 500 kg payload.

In view of the pandemic, the 13th edition of the biennial Aero India will be held only on three business days from February 3. Every safety precaution with respect to COVID-19 has been taken.

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