Rotorcraft Update: Hindustan helo surfaces at last

 - May 15, 2008, 9:45 AM

In the latest development of a helicopter program that could best be described as “better late than never,” Indian state-owned aerospace builder Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has delivered its first Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) to the Indian Coast Guard nearly 10 years to the date after the design’s first flight in 1992 (design started eight years before). Development of the 9,920-lb mgw light twin has been delayed by myriad problems, among them sporadic funding, squabbles within the Indian government and its military and disagreements with Eurocopter and Turbomeca, both early program contributors. HAL plans to deliver 14 ALHs this year, ramping up to 34 annually next year when limited civil deliveries will begin. Base price for the helicopter is $5.1 million.