With exports of the base Dhruv helicopter to countries including Ecuador, Turkey, Peru and Nepal, and with potential sales to Bolivia and Venezuela, HAL looks forward to making the Rudra available to foreign customers quickly as well. HAL already has begun to formulate an export file on the Rudra for circulation in Latin America, Southeast Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe.
Technologies developed for the Rudra also feed directly into HAL’s Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) program, which involves a narrowed Dhruv fuselage with tandem seats. With two prototypes in flight test and a third, with significant weight reduction, to join tests in two months, the LCH program is moving quickly. Both prototypes recently passed sea-level trials on the country’s southeast coast.
The air force will be the LCH’s principal customer, though an unspecified number will also be operated by the army. The air force and army are embroiled in a turf war over the use of armed battlefield air assets, with the latter winning what appeared for a time to be a game of brinkmanship. Despite some speculation, there is no doubt that the soon-to-be-contracted AH-64Ds will be inducted into the air force.
Dhruv photo: HAL