India-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL, here at chalet R1) now has the military utility version of its Dhruv helicopter certified with an IAI-made glass cockpit. “We have delivered 10 to the Indian army,” chief test pilot Chandra Upadhyay told AIN. The Army’s pilots have started training and plan to be ready to operate with the new cockpit within two or three months, he added.
On the armed Dhruv, work is underway to integrate the cockpit with the weapons system. The first delivery to the army of an armed Dhruv with new Shakti engines and the new cockpit is planned for March 2009. The Shakti is a jointly-developed version, by HAL and Turbomeca, of the latter company’s Ardiden turboshaft.
There is no plan to fit the new cockpit into the civil Dhruv because of adaptation costs. EASA validation of the Dhruv’s Indian type certificate is expected next year. Talks have started with the FAA for a similar process in the U.S.