The indigenous Light Utility Helicopter at HAL facility in Bengaluru (Image courtesy: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited)
In yet another step towards ‘Aatmanirbharta’ in defence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will dedicate to the nation a helicopter factory of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in Tumakuru, Karnataka on Monday.
The Greenfield Helicopter Factory, spread across 615 acres of land, is planned with a vision to become a one-stop solution for all helicopter requirements of the country.
It is India’s largest helicopter manufacturing facility and will initially produce Light Utility Helicopters (LUHs).
The LUH is an indigenously designed and developed 3-tonne class, single-engine multipurpose utility helicopter with unique features of high maneuverability. Initially, this factory will produce around 30 helicopters per year and can be enhanced to 60 and then 90 per year in a phased manner. The first LUH has been flight tested and is ready for unveiling.
The factory will be augmented to produce other helicopters such as Light Combat Helicopters (LCHs) and Indian Multirole Helicopters (IMRHs). It will also be used for Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul of LCH, LUH, Civil Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and IMRH in the future. Potential exports of civil LUH will also be catered to from this factory.
The HAL plans to produce more than 1,000 helicopters in the range of 3-15 tonnes, with a total business of over Rs four lakh crores over a period of 20 years. Besides generating direct and indirect employment, the Tumakuru facility will boost the development of surrounding areas through its CSR activities with large-scale community-centric programmes on which the company will spend substantial amounts. All this will result in improvement in the people’s lives in the region.
The proximity of the factory, with the existing HAL facilities in Bengaluru, will boost the aerospace manufacturing ecosystem in the region and support skill & infrastructure development such as schools, colleges and residential areas. Medical and health care would also reach the community residing in the various nearby Panchayats.
With the establishment of facilities like a Heli-Runway, Flight Hangar, Final Assembly Hangar, Structure Assembly Hangar, Air Traffic Control and various supporting service facilities, the factory is fully operational. This factory is being equipped with state-of-the-art Industry 4.0 standard tools and techniques for its operations.
The foundation stone of the facility was laid by the Prime Minister in 2016. This factory will enable India to meet its entire requirement of helicopters without import and give a much-needed fillip to the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ in helicopter design, development, and manufacture.