Indian Coast Guard (ICG) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) are in discussions over the modification of the Indian Multi-Role Helicopter (IMRH) to satisfy ICG’s needs. ICG requires around 14 new helicopters for surveillance missions and other offshore security-related operations.
ICG had earlier issued an international tender, to which Russia and Airbus responded by proposing Kamov KA 32A11M and H225M helicopters, respectively. Russia withdrew its Kamov KA 32A11M from the competition, resulting in a single-vendor situation for the H225M helicopter, which necessitated its cancellation.
ICG has chosen to cease seeking helicopters from international vendors and instead collaborate with HAL to create a variant of the 13-ton IMRH helicopter for the Indian Army. Air Force and Navy use DMRH.
HAL Indian Multi-Role Helicopter (IMRH)
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) of India is developing a new medium-lift helicopter with the relatively generic name “Indian Multi-Role Helicopter” (IMRH). In order to compete in its class, the design seeks to take on a number of worldwide competitors in the potentially lucrative rotary-wing market. The fact that many of the world’s armed services will soon be looking to modernise a stock of rotary-wing platforms with Cold War roots makes the market more lucrative (1947-1991). The IMRH is being designed to compete with existing competitors in the 10- to 15-ton class market. It will have a comparable combat appearance and function to the American Sikorsky UH-60 “Black Hawk” and Russian Mil Mi-17 transport lines.
With roughly 300 of its own helicopters reaching their maximum age and operational usefulness – particularly Mil Mi-8 and Mi-17 models from the Soviet era – the Indian military will seek out such a product in the near future. HAL currently participates in the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), and “Dhruv” rotary-wing programmes. The IMRH derives from a previous Indian attempt (cancelled in 2009) that sought a comparable air system and global partners. Changes in Indian military service standards finally led to the termination of this initiative.
The clean sheet design (with specified specs subject to change as the programme evolves) will use a pair of turboshaft engines rated at approximately 2,415 horsepower each (with FADEC, “Full-authority Digital Engine Control”) to drive a standard main rotor and tail rotor set. Composites play a significant role in its construction for a lightweight yet robust design. The aircraft has an estimated range of 500 miles, a service ceiling of 21,500 feet, and a top speed of 170 miles per hour. There is a payload capacity of 9,920 pounds, a two-person crew, and a maximum takeoff weight of 24,000 pounds.
During Aero India 2017, HAL displayed a full-scale model of the proposed helicopter, which resembles contemporary French medium-lift aircraft. The engines are positioned on top of the passenger compartment, and a five-blade main rotor is positioned near to the engine housing. Pilots have good out-of-cockpit visibility due to the extensive use of windshields. Windows adorn the cabin’s sidewalls, while doors facilitate entry and exit. The tail rotor has four blades and is tilted to the port side. The undercarriage is likely retractable and wheeled.
In addition to its presumed military value, the IMRH will undoubtedly be offered to civilian and industrial sectors in order to maximise its return on investment. The first flight is tentatively scheduled for sometime in 2019, however the Indian aerospace sector is infamous for its lengthy aircraft development times, so this is open to change. Entry into service would not occur until sometime in the 2025s.
Service Year: 2025
Status: In development
Production: 0 unit
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) – India
Special-Mission: MEDical EVACuation (MEDEVAC)
Extraction of wounded combatants or civilians utilising onboard specialised equipment and available internal or external carrying capacity.
Special-Mission: Search & Rescue (SAR)
Capability to locate and extract personnel from potential danger or perilous areas
General transport capabilities to transport supplies/cargo or personnel (including wounded and VIP) over distance.
DIMENSIONS & WEIGHTS [+]
Length: 52.5 ft (16.00 m)
Width/Span: 53.5 ft (16.30 m)
Height: 17.2 ft (5.25 m)
MTOW: 23,997 lb (10,885 kg)
POWER & PERFORMANCE [+]
Installed: 2 × Turboshaft engines with 2,415 horsepower (or comparable) of unknown make and model driving a five-blade main rotor and a four-blade tail rotor.
Max Speed: 171 mph (275 kph | 148 kts)
Ceiling: 21,506 ft (6,555 m | 4 mi)
Range: 500 mi (805 km | 1,491 nm)
Rate-of-Climb: 1,575 ft/min (480 m/min)
Typically None. May be equipped for self-defense / suppression machine guns are doors or modified for the gunship role if needed.
IMRH “Indian Multi-Role Helicopter” – Base Project Name
HMLH “HAL Medium-Lift Helicopter” – Alternative Name