The third prototype (PT3) of the indigenously designed and developed Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) recorded its maiden flight here on Friday.
This comes close on the heels of the helicopter achieving a 6-km altitude flight recently.
Test pilots Wg Cdr (Retd) Anil Bhambhani and Gp. Capt (Retd) M R Anand flew the chopper.
“The flight was flawless, and this prototype would augment development flight testing in conjunction with other two prototypes towards certification,” Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) said in a release.
Based on the feedback from flight testing of PT1 and PT2, PT3 is built to the standard of deliverable configuration.
R Madhavan, HAL chairman and managing director, said: “With this achievement, the LUH is now close to production clearance, and the HAL is confident of meeting requirements of the armed forces.”
This flight is an indication that the helicopter could soon replace the ageing fleet of Cheetah/Chetak, according to Arup Chatterjee, Director (Engg., R&D) HAL.
The LUH is a three-ton class new generation single engine helicopter indigenously designed and developed by the Rotary Wing Research and Design Center (RWR&DC) of HAL. First flight of LUH PT-1 was carried on September 6, 2016, and the second Prototype flew on May 22, 2017. High altitude cold weather trials of LUH is planned in January 2019.