The weaponised Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) — Rudra — that will be officially handed over to the Army on Friday at Aero India, sports a host of state-of-the-art systems that makes it unassailable, according to a top official of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL).
The combat helicopter, which received initial operational clearance earlier this week, comes with 25 new suites for targeting, warning and counter measures and general utility, besides weapon systems.
The platform exudes dynamism in taking on targets conventionally, through optical pod, forward-looking infrared or the pilot’s helmet-mounted pointing system.
“All the pilot has to do is to look at the target and fire,” said P. Soundara Rajan, managing director, HAL’s Helicopter Complex.
The platform has warheads of multiple varieties, ranging from air-to-air missiles, 70 mm rockets with a stand-off range of over eight km and 20 mm canons. While carriage trials of air-to-ground missile have been carried out, it would be sometime before the under-development anti-tank guided missile Helina becomes part of its inventory.
Its self-protection suite is comprehensive, alerting the pilot to missile, radar and laser tracking, thus enhancing his situational awareness considerably, he adds. Automatic execution of effective countermeasures, including release of chaff and flare to dodge the oncoming threat, add to the platform’s stability.
Mr. Rajan told The Hindu the Army ordered 38 Rudra helicopters while the Air Force would buy an initial batch of 16. The prototype has been extensively ground-tested for 150 hours, while it has logged 300 hours of flying.
The series production helicopter, two of which will be received by the Army on Friday, have flown for 50 hours.
“As we replaced an extra gearbox with an optimised transmission system, the helicopter has become lighter,” said Mr. Rajan.