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HAL Rudra – Indian Army Light Combat Helicopter Review

Rudra is the weαpσnised version of the HAL Dhruv designed and developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to meet the requirements of Indian Army & Air Force.

According to The Print of India, within the framework of its 10-year air force modernization program, the Indian Army is planning to buy at least 350 helicopters of all kinds, including the indigenous Light Combat Helicopter and the battle-proven Apache. The Indian Army is expected to buy two kinds of utility choppers and three combat helicopters.

In particular, the HAL Rudra helicopter squadron with 20mm and 70mm cannons will be staffed in early 2020s. Along with that, India is also expected to receive the results of the domestic light combat helicopter program in the near future. Rudra is the weαpσnised version of the HAL Dhruv designed and developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to meet the requirements of Indian Army & Air Force. The multi role helicopter of 5.8 Ton class will carry out anti-tank, scouting, fire support and Armed reconnaissance and surveillance roles.

Design

The Rudra follows more the design path of a gunship as it is capable of troop transport and other over-battlefield roles mainly due to its utility origins. The helicopter has a traditional design, carbon fiber and composite materials have been used in aircraft structure to reduce weight. Basically, Rudra’s design is not much different from its predecessor, the Indian military has not made any major modifications to the Dhruv air-frame. Rudra has a length of 15.8m, main rotor diameter of 13.2m and a height of 4.9m. The maximum take-off weight of the helicopter is 5,500kg. Rudra can carry a payload of 2,600kg.

The cockpit and the electronic system compartment is protected by Kevlar armor and carbon fiber material. The crew consists of 2 people sitting side by side and the passenger section is aft. The cockpit is located right behind the small pointed nose, providing great visibility both forward, below and to the sides. The helicopter’s tail is raised, there is a vertical tail fin and holds a pair of horizontal planes, each capped by smaller vertical planes. The landing gear is a typical fixed-type metal skid design, which is simple and requires little maintenance.

Powerplant

The two engines are located above the cabin and are attached to a four-blade composite main rotor. Rudra uses two Turbomeca Shakti turboshaft engines, each engine delivers a maximum continuous power of 1,432 Shaft horsepower. This helps the helicopter has a maximum speed of 245km/h, the range of 590km, the service ceiling is 6100m and can climb at a rate of 10.3m/s.

Electronic systems

The night vision goggle compatible cockpit is equipped with multifunction displays, dual flight controls and automatic flight control system. The avionics suite integrates a global positioning system, FLIR, communications radio, Infrared Friend or Foe identification system, Doppler navigation and a radio altimeter. The electro-optic pod, helmet-mounted sight and fixed sights ensure the pilots can accurately engage targets using onboard ωεɑρσռs.

In addition, Rudra is equipped with SAAB Integrated Defensive Aids Suite, radar warning receiver, IR jammer, flare and chaff dispenser. The Integrated Defensive Aids Suite can be integrated with RWS-300 radar-warning sensor, LWS-310 laser warning sensor, MAW-300 missile-approach warning sensor and BOP-L series advanced lightweight countermeasures dispensing system.

Armament

Although it was just a light armed helicopter, Rudra’s firepower was very powerful. Right below the chin is a 20mm M621 cannon on Nexter THL-20 gun turret, the cannon can fire at a rate of 750 rounds per minute, effective range is 2,000 m. In the coast guard version, the helicopter will be equipped with a 7.62 mm cabin-mounted machine gun. On the stub wings, can be equipped with up to eight Helina anti-tank guided missiles, four MBDA Mistral-1 short-range air-to-air missiles or 70 mmThales 12-round rocket pods. When performing submarine hunting and anti-surface ship missions, the Rudra helicopter can also be equipped with 2 torpedoes or depth charges and 4 anti-ship missiles.

Operations

The Indian Army currently operates Chetak and Cheetah choppers, the HAL Dhruv since 2001, and its armed variant Rudra since 2013. According to the Indian Army, each Indian Air Force squadron will receive 10 new helicopters. These new helicopters in the future will gradually replace the old Chetak and Cheetah helicopters were no longer meet the requirements of modern ωɑɾʄɑɾε. Army sources said the plans would be a game-changer in future conflicts, and expressed confidence that they would be put into action in a time-bound manner.

Armed with modern ωεɑρσռs and equipment for both the army, the air force and the navy, this shows the Indian government’s attention to defense. More specifically, besides spending huge amounts of money to buy foreign ωεɑρσռs, New Delhi is also actively promoting domestic ωεɑρσռs production programs, with the prime example being the Light Combat Helicopter program.