Thursday, June 13, 2024

HAL’s IMRH To Be Inducted Into The Indian Armed Forces By Next Decade

By Aritra Banerjee

The Indian Armed Forces are set to launch the first prototype of the Indian Multi-Role Helicopter (IMRH) in the next four years to bridge the quantity gap after phasing out the existing helicopter fleet. The state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has completed the preliminary design review but is waiting for government funding to develop the multi-role helicopters. 

HAL’s Abdul Rashid Tajar says the IMRH will be developed for both the Indian Army and Air Force and can take off and land from a five-kilometre altitude, a first for a helicopter of this class. The design process is expected to take around four years, with another four years for development, after which HAL will be ready to unveil the finished product.

The IMRH will be capable of carrying 24-36 troops and will be used for disaster relief, air maintenance, combat search and rescue, and humanitarian assistance. It is expected to be equipped with a 7.62mm gun and 12.7mm gun, podded guns, rockets and an air-to-air missile system, as well as an electro-optical pod, but only for limited armament capability. 

HAL estimates that one unit will cost around Rs 300 crore, with the IMRH replacing the ageing fleets of Russia-origin military helicopters, specifically the Mi series, by 2028-29. The project has received a boost from French engine maker Safran, and the Indian Navy is currently negotiating for a deck-based helicopter to be designed and developed for their needs.

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