The Indian Army will on Friday be the first recipient of the Hindustan Aeronautic Limited (HAL) manufactured Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Rudra, which has been equipped with state of the art weaponry and self-defence systems.
On display at the ongoing 9th Aero India show, the Rudra sports features that are unique to its category, propelling HAL into an elite group of organizations in the world that design, develop, manufacture and certify helicopters as weapons system to international standards.
Managing Director of HAL's Helicopter Complex P. Soundara Rajan said the helicopter has been built to specifications that meet with requirements of the armed forces.
"Rudra is the only helicopter in this weight category which has got four basic weapons, along with a modern targeting system and counter measure systems, which can perform at six kilometres, the required specifications of the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force," Rajan said.
He added that rigorous testing had been done to make sure that the Rudra was ready for use in all flight and combat situations.
"We needed to do nearly 300 hours of flight testing, 100 hours of ground tests, another 50 hours of flying this at different attack areas like Balasore, Pokhran and Kaliakunda. We have fired missiles and rockets at different altitudes and proven this system, and we have been given the certificate for releasing this (helicopter) to the Indian Army," Rajan said.
Currently, HAL has orders for 76 Rudras, 60 for the Army and 16 for the Indian Air Force.
Rajan said that the helicopters would be delivered by 2016-17.
India, the world's biggest arms importer in recent years, plans to spend around 100 billion dollars over the next 10 years upgrading its mostly Soviet-era military hardware to keep pace with China's ramping up of defence spending.
Despite the modernisation push, India's defence budget will not escape a tightening of government spending this year as New Delhi looks to rein in its fiscal deficit. (ANI)