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Developed with German ( MBB / Eurocopter ) design assistance, the multirole ALH (Advanced Light Helicopter). first flew August 20, 1992; a skid-gear Army/Air Force prototype followed in May 1994 and the wheeled-gear Naval prototype in December 1995.

The first production contract, announced in 1997 for 12 aircraft (Army and Air Force four each, Navy and Coast Guard two each), with deliveries to start next year. Eventual requirements are 110, 150, and 40, respectively, to replace such elderly types as the Cheetah and Chetak.

In March 2002 HAL delivered its first advanced light helicopter to the Coast Guard, ten years after the prototype made its maiden flight. The helicopters cost 5.1 million dollars each.

Defense News reported in March 2004 that HAL signed a $33 million contract with Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) in February 2004, in which IAI will supply entire avionics packages for deliveries to both domestic and export markets. This ensures that all future production of the Dhruv will feature only Israeli avionics. The first Israeli-supplied avionics will fly on the Dhruv in January 2006. The avionics systems initially will be supplied for 100 helicopters, primarily for the Indian military market. About 300 helicopters eventually will be equipped with the IAI systems. The systems include electronic warfare packages, a day-and-night vision system, head-up display and communication systems.

Defense News also reported that as of March 2004, about 40 Dhruvs were supplied to the three services and the Coast Guard. These 40 helicopters were equipped with indigenously developed avionics systems, supplied by HAL's avionics division and will not receive the Israeli avionics upgrade. The decision to use Israeli avionics was based on recommendations from the Army and Navy. The Navy, in its recommendations submitted to the MoD, requested IAI-built multipurpose surveillance radar and infra-red systems. However the indigenously developed SV-2000 maritime patrol radar will fill in the vital gap of surveillance and a FLIR turret will be acquired from either France or Israel.

(Data for Army/Air Force version; Naval version in parentheses.)

Contractor: Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, India.
Power Plant: two Turbomeca TM 333-2B turboshafts (each 1,000 shp); or LHTEC CTS 800s (each 1,300 shp).
Dimensions: rotor diameter 43 ft 3 3/4 in (both), fuselage length (incl tail rotor) 42 ft 3 3/4 in (44 ft 0 3/4 in), height 16 ft 4 in (16 ft 1 1/4 in).
Weights: empty 5,511 lb (both), gross 9,920 lb (12,125 lb).
Performance (at 8,818 lb weight, both): max speed 174 mph, max cruising speed 152 mph, ceiling 19,680 ft, range 249 miles with 1,543-lb payload, 497 miles with max fuel and 20 min reserves.
Accommodation: crew of two; 10 troops/passengers standard, or 14 maximum, or two litters and medical team, or cargo, or other personnel and equipment depending on mission.
Armament: Cabin-side pylons for ATGMs, AAMs, or rocket pods; provision for 20-mm gun in underfuselage turret. (Naval version, pylon-mounted torpedoes or depth charges, plus slung load of mines.)

Contribution: Rupak Chattopadhyay

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