Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is planning to unveil an armed variant of its Rudra advanced light helicopter (ALH) at the forthcoming Aero India Exhibition, which is scheduled to be held in February 2013 in Bangalore, India.
Fully designed and manufactured by HAL, the latest version features an array of new weapon systems, such as 20mm turreted gun, 70mm rocket pods and air-to-air combat missiles.
Commenting on the helicopter, HAL chairman RK Tyagi was quoted by The Times of India as saying that the helicopter's combat capability has been augmented through integration of electronic warfare suite and counter-measure devices, such as flares and chaffs dispensers.
"Sighting systems, such as electro-optical pod and helmet-pointing systems, have been integrated to augment target aiming capabilities," Tyagi added.
Also known as ALH-WSI, the helicopter has already proven its performance and firing capabilities during extensive flight trials, and is currently awaiting initial operational clearance (IOC), which is expected to be awarded shortly.
"Initial deliveries of Rudra to the army are planned in this fiscal year," Tyagi said.
Due to advanced self-defence and protection suite, the helicopter is expected to be used for several armed and unarmed missions, including heliborne assault, logistic support, reconnaissance, casualty evacuation, anti-tank warfare, close air support, and anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface vessel (ASV) operations.
Powered by two Shakti engines, the Rudra is an armed variant of the Dhruv ALH and is designed to carry out both utility and attack missions in the battlefield.
The multi-mission helicopter is equipped with forward-looking infrared (FLIR) and thermal imaging sights interface, integrated defensive aids suite (IDAS) with electronic warfare self-protection, anti-tank guided missiles and automatic flight control system to improve the army's aerial firepower capabilities.
Image: The Rudra advanced light helicopter. Photo: courtesy of Ajai Shukla.