HAL and Turbomeca have had a long history of joint industrial helicopter development in India, going back to the 1960s. In 1961, Turbomeca granted a manufacturing license for the Artouste turboshaft engine to equip the Indian Chetak and Cheetah helicopters. The development of the Shakti/Ardiden 1H project was initiated in 1999 by the two companies to power the HAL Dhruv helicopter. However, several factors including the US embargo following India's 1998 nuclear tests forced the project to run behind schedule. Hence, early models of the Dhruv used the less powerful Turbomeca TM 333-2B2 engine as a contingency. The first test flight of the Dhruv with the new Shakti engine took place on 16 August 2007. By late 2007, HAL started fitting the Shakti engines for Dhruvs produced from then.
The Ardiden 1H series engines have a radial air intake and a two-stage centrifugal compressor driven by a single stage axial gas generator turbine. Airflow is directed through a reverse flow annular combustion chamber, through the gas generator turbine and then through and a two-stage axial free power turbine. Output power is transmitted to a front-mounted reduction gearbox by a shaft concentrically mounted within the gas generator rotor assembly. The accessory gearbox, also mounted at the front end, is driven by the gas generator. Control is by means of a dual-channel digital engine electronic control unit (DECU).