India-made multi-role choppers to match Russian Mi-17s: All you need to know | india-news | Hindustan Times
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India-made multi-role choppers to match Russian Mi-17s: All you need to know

If all goes as per the plans of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, the first prototype of the helicopter could be out by 2020. A senior HAL official said the programme was on track and a priority for the state-owned firm.

india Updated: May 09, 2017 13:22 IST
Rahul Singh
A Russian Mi-17 helicopter used by IAF.  Hindustan Aeronautics Limited plans to build multi-purpose helicopters that are expected to compete with the Russian choppers.
A Russian Mi-17 helicopter used by IAF. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited plans to build multi-purpose helicopters that are expected to compete with the Russian choppers. (Photo courtsey: Indian Air Force website)

India is pursuing plans to build its own multi-role helicopters that could be made available to the three services in the next 6 years.

If all goes as per the plans of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, the first prototype of the helicopter could be out by 2020. A senior HAL official said the programme was on track and a priority for the state-owned firm.

Here’s all you need to know about the Indian multi-role helicopter (IMRH) project:

Competition for Mi-17 choppers

The IMRH is expected to compete with Russian Mi-17 choppers in both Indian and foreign markets. HAL says the platform could have a huge market as nearly 40 air forces across the world operate Mi-17 type helicopters. The Mi-17 is the mainstay of the Indian Air Force’s transport fleet.

Types of missions

HAL officials say the IMRH will be capable of carrying out a wider variety of missions than the Mi-17. The indigenous helicopter, which is currently in design stage, could be used for transporting troops, conducting assault operations, air maintenance and anti-submarine warfare among other roles.

Specifications of proposed India-made multi-role choppers
  • Weight class: 12.5 tonne
  • Engines: 2
  • Payload: 3,500kg
  • Passengers: 24
  • Service ceiling: Over 20,000 feet

Indigenous platform

The HAL is seeking to build the helicopter without any foreign help. However, HAL sources said the engines for the IMRH could be sourced from a foreign military contractor. HAL has estimated a requirement for 350 to 400 choppers but the number could be revised depending on market projections.

Indian helicopter fleet

The IMRH will join a wide variety of helicopters in the Indian fleet ranging from Mi-17V5, Dhruv advanced light helicopter, Ka-226T (yet to be built) to Apache attack helicopters and Chinook heavy-lift choppers whose induction will begin in about 2 years.