Indian Multi-Role Helicopters program awaits Govt. sanction

DPSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is awaiting funding approval for the Indian Multi-Role Helicopters (IMRHs) programme from the Indian Government to begin with the next phase of the programme, which is the detailed design of the platform.

As of now, the preliminary design of 10 Ton IMRH prepared in alignment with the operational requirements of the Indian Armed Forces, has been completed and the report has also been submitted to the Government.

Post the approval of funding and designing phase, HAL will build the prototype which is expected to take a minimum of four years.

This will be followed by its maiden flight, and certification, which is expected to take another four years before clearance for induction.

The IMRH programme, which was launched in 2008, is expected to begin replacing the Mi-17s which will start getting phased out from 2028.

HAL estimates requirement of around 350 IMRHs, with one unit is expected to cost around Rs 300 Crores.

About the Indian Multi Role Helicopter (IMRH): It is a medium-lift helicopter currently under development by HAL for Indian Armed forces for air assault, air transport, combat logistics, combat search & rescue and casualty evacuation operations.

The helicopter will be powered by twin engines and will feature blade folding option for ship deck operations.

The chopper is expected to carry 24-36 personnel, and 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.

The planned rotorcraft is expected to have a maximum take-off weight of 13 tonnes with a five bladed main rotor and 4 bladed rotors on tail. The navalised version further will have longer range and higher payload capacity.

IMRH is aimed to replace all the current Mil Mi-17 and Mil Mi-8 helicopters across the Indian Armed Forces.

Reportedly, there are approximately 250 Mi-17s in the inventory of the three Indian Defence Service in three variants.

The IAF alone has assessed its requirement for medium-lift helicopters as being for 250 aircraft.