HAL's "Indian" Light Utility Copter Programme Invites Foreign Engine Bids

Remember the Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) that HAL is developing to meet a partial requirement of 187 helicopters by the Indian armed forces? HAL has now floated a tender inviting bids from "reputed TurboShaft Engine Manufacturers world over who would like to offer their engine along with associated instrumentation for integration on Light Utility Helicopter (LUH)." HAL reveals that during the production phase of the LUH (2013-14), 210 engines will be procured in phases. For starters, they want two flight-cleared engines delivered for testing and prototype flights by December 2011.

Ok, now for some engine specs. HAL is looking for a turboshaft with dual channel FADEC, with an independent backup fuel-control system in the event the FADEC packs up. The engine must allow time from start-up to take-off of 5-minutes or less. The dry weight of the engine, FADEC, backup controls and accessories must not exceed 200-kg, and it must be fully tropicalised to operate in the temperature range of -35°C to 50°C and a service ceiling of 7000m.

And obviously, since HAL can't pull it off alone, "HAL is also interested in entering into a long term business agreement with willing partners to take-up license manufacturing of engine or its parts at its facilities aimed to jointly meet the engine requirement on a global basis on mutual benefit terms. Consent for further exploration of transfer oftechnology for license manufacturing is to be indicated with sufficient details."

It is understood that the HAL was forced to look to other engine makers after Turbomeca acted difficult on a single Shakti engine configuration plan for the LUH, charging an inordinate sum of money for testing and evaluation.

Photo by Shiv Aroor / AeroIndia 2009

Labels: , , , ,