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HAL receives single-crystal blades for helicopter engines

26 Apr 2021 (Last Updated April 26th, 2021 16:10)

India-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has received 60 single-crystal blades for helicopter engines from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

HAL receives single-crystal blades for helicopter engines
Single-crystal blades for helicopter engine application. Credit: Indian Ministry of Defence / Press Information Bureau.

India-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has received 60 single-crystal blades for helicopter engines from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) said that the technology had been developed as part of a programme taken up by the DRDO’s Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL).

A total of 300 single-crystal high-pressure turbine (HPT) blades will be developed and delivered in five 60-blade sets. The remaining four sets are expected to be delivered at a later point.

Made using a nickel-based superalloy, the blades feature a complex geometrical design and can withstand high temperatures.

The blades are used in the development of engines to allow helicopters to operate reliably in complex conditions.

The US, UK, Russia and France are among the few countries that can design and produce single-crystal components.

Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated the DRDO and HAL on the development of the technology.

The DMRL used experience and expertise gained while working on a previous aero-engine project involving the development of such a technology.

The DRDO laboratory set up a full vacuum investment casting process to create the blades. This included die design, ceramic moulding, heat treatment and dimensional measurement, actual casting of components, and non-destructive evaluation (NDE).

The Indian MoD recently announced the development of a SpO2 (blood oxygen saturation) supplemental oxygen delivery system.

The SpO2 system is intended for soldiers conducting operations in extreme high-altitude areas. Its electronic hardware is designed to operate at extreme altitudes, while software safety checks ensure its reliability in field conditions.

Last February, HAL was given clearance to manufacture light utility helicopters (LUHs) domestically to meet the Indian army and airforce’s operational needs.