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Thursday, September 10, 2015

HAL-developed LUH Could Have An Armed Variant In Future

The pilot & co-pilot of the helicopter would also have all necessary information displayed in front of their eyes.


The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited [HAL] recently announced plans to select a suitable Helmet Mounted Display [HMD] system for the Light Utility Helicopter [LUH], that it is currently developing, in response to the Indian Air Force [IAF] & Indian Army's [IA] requirement for helicopters to replace its existing fleet of Cheetah & Chetak helicopters for Reconnaissance & Surveillance operations. For the pilot & co-pilot of the LUH, all flight-specific data would, therefore, be independently available in front of their eyes, at all times. Besides the HMD, the LUH would also be equipped with,

"a state of the art Glass cockpit configuration called Smart Cockpit Display System (SCDS) which would be equipped with 3 numbers of color Smart MFD (SMFD) with touch screen capability."

Ergonomics, clearly a design definition for the project. The information displayed on the HMD is to be retrieved from the helicopter's MIL STD 1553 central Avionic Bus being implemented, either using a dedicated Controller or via the existing SCDS/SMFD. Interestingly, one hasn't yet heard of HAL adopting a HMD system for its other projects - the Advanced Light Helicopter [ALH] 'Dhruv', its weaponised variant - 'Rudra', or the Light Combat Helicopter [LCH]. Would love to be corrected on this one.

HMDs were, originally, developed for combat aircrafts & helicopters to enable the pilot to lock on to their targets [cueing] by simply looking at it, before firing their weapons. Over time, they've come to be implemented on transport choppers & planes as well, owing to the superior situational awareness they provide. The South Korean KAI KUH-1 Surion & Italian Alenia C-27J Spartan are 2 examples of platforms that have demonstrated use of HMDs in the flight operation.

Quite like the ALH 'Dhruv', HAL has kept its options open to develop an weaponised variant based on the LUH platform. This block diagram, below, illustrates the interface between the different elements of the aircraft/helicopter that would enable the platform to fire weapons.


From the documents, one can see that future weapon integration could enable the armed LUH to fire Podded Gun & Rocket, Anti Tank Guided Missiles & Air to Air Missiles. Interesting development.


Also read: Indian Air Force's Sarang Helicopter Aerial demonstration team wallpaper