|Rudra of the Indian Army in 2013|
|Manufacturer||Hindustan Aeronautics Limited|
|First flight||16 August 2007|
|Primary user||Indian Army|
|Developed from||HAL Dhruv|
The HAL Rudra (Sanskrit: रुद्र, "The God Of The Tempest") aka ALH-WSI is an armed version of HAL Dhruv. Rudra is equipped with Forward Looking Infra Red and Thermal Imaging Sights Interface, a 20 mm turret gun, 70 mm rocket pods, Anti-tank guided missiles and Air-to-Air Missiles.
Design and development
While flight testing the Light Combat Helicopter, a modified version of HAL Dhruv, the Indian Army came to the conclusion that without making any major modifications to the Dhruv air-frame, an armed variant can also be developed and delivered to the army quickly. This variant was named Rudra.
The Rudra underwent integration trial for armament and electro-optical systems and a final round of weapon firing trials in September 2011, which included testing of the 20-mm turret gun. The 70 mm rockets and MBDA Mistral air-to-air missiles were tested in November 2011. The helicopter exceeded the payload and performance requirements at the height of 6 km. It has integrated sensors, weapons and electronic warfare suite, and uses an upgraded version of the glass cockpit used in the HAL Dhruv Mk-III. The sensors include stabilised day and night cameras, infrared imaging as well as laser ranging and designation. It has an Integrated Defensive Aids Suite (IDAS) from SAAB, with electronic warfare self-protection which is fully integrated into the glass cockpit. On-board self-defence systems include radar & missile detectors, IR jammer, chaff and flare dispensers. The helicopter can be used in both unarmed and armed roles that include reconnaissance, troop transport, anti-tank warfare and close air support.
In September 2012, ground tests for the first production Rudra were completed. It featured a turret gun, rockets, air-to-air missiles and could carry air-to-ground missiles like the anti-tank helicopter-launched Nag. HAL was awarded with a combined order of 76 Rudras for the Indian army, the primary customer, and the Indian air force. It was reportedly that the weapons platforms and avionics of HAL Rudra and the under-development Light Combat Helicopter would be the same.
The Indian Navy conducted flight trials in 2012-13, and found the helicopter suitable for coastal surveillance operations. It was impressed with the capability of the Rudra's sensors to track ships at 12 and 14 km. The image quality of the sensors was described as good enough to even read the name of ships at those ranges, and the navy was keen to order at least 20 helicopters.
Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) was expected by late 2012 and deliveries of production helicopters were to start by 2013. On 4 February 2013 during Aero India, the HAL Rudra Mk-IV achieved IOC, and two helicopters were handed over to the army.
Rudra, or ALH-WSI (Weapon Systems Integrated) has two main versions.
- Mark III: This version has Electronic Warfare, countermeasures, sensors and targeting systems installed, but does not feature weapons.
- Mark IV: This version is to have a French Nexter 20 mm turret gun, Belgian 70 mm rockets, and MBDA air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, such as the anti-tank Helina missile. All these systems have been tested individually.
- Crew: 1 or 2 pilots
- Capacity: 12 passengers (14 passengers with high density seating) or 4 stretchers.
- Length: 15.87 m (52 ft 0.8 in)
- Rotor diameter: 13.20 m (43 ft 3.7 in)
- Height: 4.98 m (16 ft 4.06 in)
- Disc area: 137 m² (1,472 ft²)
- Empty weight: 2,502 kg (5,515 lb)
- Useful load: 2,600 kg (5,731 lb)
- Max. takeoff weight: 5,500 kg (12,125 lb)
- Powerplant: 2 × HAL/Turbomeca Shakti turboshafts, 1,000 kW (1,400 shp)
Alternate engine: 2 x Turbomeca TM 333-2B2 turboshaft, 746 kW (1,000 shp) each
- Maximum speed: 290 km/h (180 mph, 156.58 kn)
- Combat radius: 320 km (200 mi, 175 nmi)
- Ferry range: 827 km (516 mi, 447 nmi)
- Service ceiling: 6,096 m (20,000 ft)
- Rate of climb: 10.3 m/s (2,030 ft/min)
- Power/mass: 329.73 W/kg (0.20 hp/lb)
- 8 Helina (Helicopter-launched Nag) Anti-tank guided missiles (planned for Air-Force & Army version)
- 4 MBDA Mistral short-range Air-to-air missiles (Air-Force & Army version)
- 4 x 68 mm or 70 mm Rocket Pods (Air-Force & Army version)
- 2 Torpedoes or Depth charges (Navy version)
- 2 Anti-ship missiles (Navy version)
- Elbit CoMPASS optoelectronic suite for reconnaissance and target acquisition
- SAAB IDAS-3 self-protection suite
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