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HAL Cheetal for Air Force

Special Correspondent

New lightweight engine enables increased range, endurance

— Photo: Sushanta Patronobish

The four Cheetal helicopters that were handed over by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited at a function at Barrackpore near Kolkata on Saturday.

BANGALORE: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited handed over the first batch of four Cheetal helicopters to the Indian Air Force at HAL’s Barrackpore Division near Kolkata on Saturday.

N. C. Agarwal, Director (Design and Development), handed over the helicopters to Air Vice-Marshal (AVM) M. Bahadur, Assistant Chief of Air Staff.

“The IAF had placed an order for 10 Cheetals, of which the first batch of four has been delivered. The remaining six are expected to be handed over by September. We expect the IAF’s order to be followed up by the Army and also the government, which is looking at procuring helicopters for various roles, especially for internal security,” said R. Srinivasan, Managing Director (Helicopter Complex), HAL.

AVM Bahadur said: “The re-engined Cheetals will increase our operational capabilities, especially for high altitude operations.”

The Cheetal is the re-engined Cheetah helicopter, with the replacement of Artouste IIIB with the TM 333-2M2 engine. The reduced weight of the TM 333-2M2 engine, with better specific fuel consumption, facilitates increased range, endurance and payload, making the helicopter more versatile in various roles. The Cheetal has been designed to incorporate upgraded features such as lightweight modern technology cockpit instruments like the electrically driven Artificial Horizon, Directional Gyro, and lightweight modern avionics — accurate navigation and homing through GPS, VHF HOMER, Flight Monitoring System (FMS), Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and Emergency Locator Transmitter.

“It is a proud moment for HAL Barrackpore,” Mr. Agarwal said.

The Cheetal landed at 23,220-ft (7070m) pressure altitude equivalent to 25,150-ft (7670m) density altitude at Saser Kangri of the Ladakh region in the Himalayas in November 2004, setting a world record in high altitude landing.

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