HAL Unveils Weaponized, Operational Rudra ALH

 - February 4, 2013, 12:13 PM
Hindustran Aeronautics's weaponized Rudra advanced light helicopter has received initial operational clearance.

Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) is expected to unveil an armed variant of its Rudra advanced light helicopter (ALH) at the Aero India show this week. The helicopter will be in the flying display along with the HAL Light Combat Helicopter. Meanwhile, scale models of the Light Utility Helicopter, Hawk, Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) and Su-30 aircraft in which the Indian group is involved on partnership terms will be on display at the company’s stand (Hall E, Stand E2.6).

“For the first time, we will present to the world glimpses of prospective multirole fighter (PMF), also known as Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA), under co-development with the Russians,” said R.K. Tyagi, chairman of HAL.

The initial operational clearance (IOC) certificate for the Advanced Light Helicopter (the Mk. IV Army version of “Rudra”) was handed over by K.Tamilmani, CEO of India’s Center for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC) to HAL on February 3. “The occasion gives us the confidence [and] boosts our indigenous activities,” said Tyagi. AIN has learnt that two Rudras are ready to be handed over to the Indian Army at the show.

However, it has apparently been an uphill struggle to integrate multiple weapon systems simultaneously on the helicopter, with the complex assignment involving four major groups of systems and weapons. Participating nations include Israel, France, Belgium, South Africa, Germany, Italy and the U.S., according to P. Soundara Rajan, managing director of HAL’s helicopter division. Almost 23 km of cables were laid and hundreds of hours of flight and ground tests were carried out, he explained. Sighting systems, such as electro-optical pod and helmet-pointing systems, have been integrated to augment target-aiming capabilities.

Fire-and-forget anti-tank guided missiles with 7 km range make Rudra the platform of choice for ground support roles. The multi-mission helicopter is equipped with forward-looking infrared (FLIR) and thermal imaging sights interface, integrated defensive aids suite (IDAS) with electronic warfare self-protection, anti-tank guided missiles and automatic flight control system to improve the army’s aerial firepower capabilities.