Hindustan Aeronautics has completed the first, 20min, flight of its light combat helicopter.
HAL managing director Ashok Nayak says performance was good during the flight, on 29 March at HAL's base in Bangalore. He says future testing aims to reduce the aircraft's overall weight and improve manoeuvrability. The 5.5t helicopter, a derivative of HAL's Dhruv advanced light helicopter, is being developed for the Indian armed forces.
France's Turbomeca helped develop the helicopter's Shakti engines. HAL was originally planning to have the first flight in October 2008 but has experienced several delays in the programme.