The HAL Dhruv advanced light helicopter (ALH) was first developed and manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) of India in the early 2000s. The helicopter was designed to meet the needs of the Indian military and other government agencies for a multirole helicopter. The Indian Army and Indian Air Force soon expressed interest in an armed version of the helicopter for attack and reconnaissance missions. HAL responded by developing the HAL Rudra, an armed variant of the Dhruv, which first flew in 2007. The helicopter began trials in 2011 and achieved initial operational clearance in 2012.
On 4 February 2013, at the Aero India show, it was announced that the HAL Rudra Mk IV had received Initial Operational Clearance IOC, and a pair of helicopters had been handed over to the Indian Army.
HAL Rudra Engine
The Rudra attack helicopter is powered by two HAL Turbomeca Shakti engines. The Shakti engine is developed jointly by Turbomeca of France and HAL of India.
The Shakti engine is a turboshaft engine with a maximum output power of 1068 kW. It features a two-stage turbine, a centrifugal compressor, and a separate axial compressor for starting. It also features a FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control) system, which provides automatic control of engine functions such as fuel flow, temperature, and speed.
The Shakti turboshaft engine is designed to operate in a wide range of temperatures and altitudes, which makes it well-suited for the Indian operating environment. It also has a low fuel consumption and low noise emissions, which makes it environmentally friendly. The Shakti engine has a high power-to-weight ratio, which allows the HAL Rudra to achieve high performance, such as its high-altitude capabilities.
The engine is built with a modular design, which makes it easy to maintain. The HAL Rudra is equipped with dual-engine, to make sure that if one engine fails the other engine will be able to keep the helicopter flying. The two engines combined provide the helicopter with a high level of safety, and redundancy.
Turbomeca Shakti Engine has been certified by French, European and Indian military aviation agencies and is also used in other helicopters such as HAL Light Combat Helicopter LCH and HAL Dhruv. The HAL Rudra helicopter itself is also widely recognized for its safety, reliability and performance.
Attack Capacity of Rudra Helicopter
The helicopter has a maximum payload capacity of around 2500 kg. This payload can be carried internally or externally, depending on the mission requirements.
When configured for troop transport, the helicopter can carry up to 8 soldiers. When configured for weapons and equipment, it can carry a variety of weapons such as a 20mm cannon, anti-tank guided missiles, and air-to-air missiles and four rocket pods for 68mm/70mm rockets. The helicopter is also equipped with hardpoints for carrying additional equipment, such as surveillance cameras and communication gear.
The payload capacity of the HAL Rudra allows it to perform a wide range of missions, including reconnaissance, attack, troop transport, and search and rescue. Its ability to carry weapons and equipment internally and externally, along with its advanced avionics, makes it a versatile and capable helicopter. The aircraft can perform various tasks such as reconnaissance, armed-escort, troop transport, VIP transport and many more.
While it is primarily used by the Indian Army and Indian Air Force, the Indian Navy has also expressed interest in the helicopter.
In 2017, the Indian Navy placed an order for 16 HAL Rudra helicopter for the Indian Navy, specifically for maritime operations and anti-submarine warfare. The helicopters have been customized to operate from ships, with some changes made to the sensor fit and naval communications suite, to adapt the helicopter for naval use.
The HAL Rudra is also capable of operating in high altitude environments and is considered a valuable asset for the Indian military in areas such as Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast regions. It also has a night-flying capability and can be used for flying in the border areas at night for intelligence collection and vigil. Additionally, it also used for the search and rescue, air ambulance, and the relief operations.