The Indian military has signed a letter of intent to procure 12 indigenously-built light utility helicopters from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
According to a company source, production of the aircraft has begun, with two already in advanced stages of completion.
The acquisition for the Indian armed forces is part of a defense proposal signed and approved last year by the country’s Defence Acquisition Council.
Six light utility helicopters will be handed over to the army, while the other six will be used by the Indian Air Force.
HAL’s light utility helicopter is a new generation aircraft with the latest technologies, such as a glass cockpit with multi-function displays.
Powered by a single turboshaft engine, the helicopter has sufficient power for demanding high-altitude missions.
It can fly at 127 knots (230 kilometers/146 miles per hour), with a maximum range of 350 kilometers (217 miles).
It can also carry up to 500 kilograms (1,102 pounds) of payload.
The helicopter is designed to replace the Cheetah & Chetak helicopters in the Indian military inventory.