New Indian Multi role helicopter in Mi-17 space

Defence News: Indian ambitions for an indigenous rotor-craft came true with Dhruv ALH back in 1992 when it took it’s first flight. Apart from the new LUH (light utility helicopter) for scout duties, HAL is starting work on a new multi role helicopter which forms the backbone of any airforce or army aviation. These workhorses are meant to do the lifting, troop transport and various naval missions. The Indian Navy might be a big benefactor considering light helicopters like Dhruv are not suitable to extended operations off the decks on cruising ships. We learn that the Indian MRH is designed to exceed Mi-17 V5 specs. read on…


Photo: Indian Air Force website. Mi17 in action.

The Mi-17 is the mainstay of the Indian Air Force’s transport fleet. The designation Mi-17 is for export, Russian armed forces call it Mi-8MT. Even the US was reportedly considering adding the helicopter to the US military. It has purchased units for allies in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan besides using it for training. The Mi-17 V5 version is powered by two Klimov TV3-117VM turboshaft engines and equipped with a loading ramp instead of the clam-shell doors, an additional door and a new “dolphin nose”.

These helicopters are intended for the transport of goods and machinery weighing up to 4 tons, and  can be equipped with rocket-cannon armament. New Mi-V-5 comply with the latest cockpit installed lighting equipment adapted for night vision goggles, which allows to operate in the dark at low and extremely low altitudes, and also gives the possibility to make the landing on unprepared sites. It is equipped with modern communication systems.


Photo credit: Times of India. The Indian Multi Role Helicopter.

The Medium Lift Helicopter India is developing is in the 10-15 ton class. A mock up of IMRH was displayed at Aero India 2017. First flight of the helicopter is expected to be in 2019 but user acceptance trials to take about 7-8 years before induction. It is to be powered by 2 engines with 3500kg payload. It can lift 24 people in passenger configuration while flying all the way up to 20,000 feet. Key external features visible include an advanced composite, hinge-less main rotor as seen in Dhruv. High mounted tail rotor is also seen, ideal for VVIP and civil applications.

The IMRH will have a wider mission profile than the Mi-17. From transport of troops to assault operations, air maintenance and disaster relief to anti-submarine missions, it fits a wide variety of bills. And did I forget to mention VIP transport? Well that’s one area where its mission is to save politicians from trouble and delays, instantly transporting them to important meetings. (pun intended)

Whats videshi in this desi machine?

Apart form engine collaboration, rest of the assembly is expected to be Indian in most areas. Today you cannot manufacture a machine entirely in one country. The economies and technologies are scattered across the globe. Do you know we manufacture apache and chinook parts here in India? you get the point! Its about integration and keeping the technologies in key areas with us. Tell us what you think? Any suggestions for HAL?

Written by Baldeva Singh

Baldeva Singh is a tough talking nationalist who has a flair for writing. Defence matters, technical details on weapons and war scenarios are his key expert areas. Baldev is known to walk the talk in his personal life. He is from Patiala (Punjab). His friends call him a “blunt weapon” but he is often found reading old books when free!

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