“The Ka-226 has been awaited for long as the Chetak-Cheetah fleet has been overworked and is showing signs of age, witnessed by the large number of incidents that are happening. A high indigenous content should be insisted upon as part of our drive to get manufacturing in India,” said Air Vice Marshal Manmohan Bahadur (retd), additional director general, Centre for Air Power Studies.
HAL is also working on a light utility helicopter (LUH) of its own. The locally designed and developed LUH has completed rigourous trials in high altitude and hot weather and is inching towards getting operational clearance.
The LUH is expected to meet a combined army and air force requirement for 187 choppers. It is being developed as a replacement for the Cheetah and Chetak helicopters, which are a lifeline for troops in high-altitude areas. The Chetaks and Cheetahs will be replaced by a mix of LUH and the Kamov-226T choppers. The three-tonne LUH is capable of flying at a speed of 220 kmph with a service ceiling of 6.5 km.