Hindustan Aeronautics is studying the development of a medium multi-role helicopter that can replace the Indian air force's fleet of Mi-17s.

The project is still at the early stages and has not been sanctioned by either the service or the defence ministry yet, says Prasad Sampath, general manager of HAL's rotary wing research and design centre.

HAL is open to foreign partnerships for the programme, says Sampath, who says that these include Russian companies, Eurocopter or Sikorsky. If these manufacturers have existing products similar to these requirements, they could be modified to suit the Indian air force's needs, he says.

"We have identified that there will be a requirement for this type of helicopter and have been talking to the service on what they could need. Based on these, we have begun our initial studies," he adds.

The helicopter will be used for tactical troop movement, offshore operations, heli-borne and amphibious assault operations, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare missions.

It is envisaged that the helicopter will have a maximum speed of 275kmh, payload at sea level of 3,500kg, range at sea level of 500km and a service ceiling of 6.5km. Sampath says that there could be a potential market for up to 300 of these medium multi-role helicopters.

Source: Flight Daily News