New Delhi: The Indian Navy would be joining the other two wings of the Indian armed forces – Army and Air Force for India’s most ambitious indigenous helicopter development plan. This would boost the project that intends to save Rs 2 lakh crore import bill for military platforms in the coming years.
The Indian Army and the Air Force had already committed themselves to the project. With the Indian Navy also agreeing to join the project, India could see eventual domestic manufacturing of hundreds of indigenous medium-lift choppers to serve a variety of roles, from transporting troops to high altitude areas to anti-ship and submarine operations.
Called the Indian Multi-Role Helicopter (IMRH), the plan is said to have been progressing as per schedule. The scale model testing has already been completed successfully and the first test flight is expected by 2025-26. The next stage where the prototypes are to be built will require a fund infusion for the estimated Rs 10,000 crore into the project.
The said chopper is being custom-built for the forces and the naval version is likely to have bespoke design elements as well, like longer range and payload capacity. The chopper is likely to have two versions – an anti-surface and submarine role and a mission role. It would also have specialised gear for marine operations, including a sonar and sea scanner radar.