The Rotary Wing R&D Centre at Bengaluru was established in 1970 as Helicopter Design Bureau and later in 1998 it was renamed as “RWR&DC”. It was formed with the objective of researching, innovating and creating designs for helicopters.
RWR&DC Design buildings and prototype hangar
The Rotary Wing Research & Design Centre (RWR&DC) with modern facilities and state-of-the-art technologies, spearheads HAL’s thrust towards excellence in the field of helicopter design.
Expertise in the design and development of Rotary Wing aircraft has been built up over the last three decades by progressive induction of qualified designers, optimal design, prototype development, ground testing and flight testing. The design Centre is engaged in design, development, prototype manufacturing, ground & flight testing and Certification of Civil and Military helicopters. The objective of the Centre is to research, innovate and create designs for rotary wing aircraft to meet indigenous and global requirements.
The Centre holds recognition and approval from CEMILAC and DGCA for research, design and manufacture of Military and Civil helicopters. Rotary Wing R&D Centre is AS 9100D and ISO 14001:2015 certified organization.
The Centre has designed & developed indigenous helicopters, such as, the Advanced Light Helicopter (Dhruv & Rudra), Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) and Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) for military customers. The ALH Dhruv is certified for Civil applications also.
The helicopters designed and developed by RWR&DC are as follows:
Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH Mk-III CG/IN)
Against a contract signed during March 2017 towards supply of 16 Helicopters each to Indian Coast Guard (ICG) and Indian Navy (IN) towards Coastal Security and other demanding roles, HAL took up the challenging tasks of Integration, extensive Flight Testing (over land and over water) & Certification of User (ICG & IN) identified systems like, Maritime Patrol Radar / Surveillance cum weather Radar, Electro Optical PoD with short wave Infra Red, High Intensity Search light with IR capabilities, Loud Hailer, Glass Cockpit, AFCS, Automatically deployable Emergency Locator Transmitter, TCAS, V/UHF with Data modem, IFF and ATC transponders, Automatic Identification system, Search And Rescue Homer, 12.7 mm Heavy Machine Gun, Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) and along with other systems onboard ALH Mk-III helicopter. Operational Clearance accorded from CEMILAC during January 2021 and subsequently all 16 Helicopters handed over to ICG for Operational exploitation and 15 out of 16 Helicopters handed over to IN and the last IN Helicopter is expected to be delivered shortly.
ALH Mk IV Rudra
The ALH Mk IV is a weaponised version and is powered by Two Shakti Turbo shaft Engines equipped with an Integrated Architecture Display System with Multi-Function Displays, Mission sensors like EO PoD, Helmet Pointing System, Electronic Warfare Suite, Flare and Chaff dispenser, Fixed sight, Ballistic computer, Solid State Digital Video Recorder and Weapon systems like 20 mm turret Gun, 70 mm Rocket system and Air-to-Air Missile. ALH WSI helicopters can perform roles like, Anti-Tank, Scout, Fire Support, Armed Reconnaissance & Surveillance, Escort & EW Platform. ALH Mk-IV is Certified and Initial Operational Clearance accorded for Army version (Rudra) in February 2013 & IAF Version during December 2015 and presently being operated by Services.
Light Combat Helicopter (LCH)
The Light Combat Helicopter ("LCH") is designed to meet the Indian Air Force’s and Indian Army's requirement of a dedicated light helicopter for combat operations. The LCH has an arrow fuselage, with the pilot and co-pilot/gunner set up in tandem configuration and incorporates a number of stealth features, armour protection, night attack capability and crashworthy landing gear for better survivability. The helicopter has the capability to carry weapons such as Turret Gun, Rocket, Air-to-Air Missile, Air-to-Ground Missile, Bombs etc.. LCH is certified and Operational Clearance accorded for IAF version (Prachand) in August 2017 & Army Version during February 2019
Light Utility Helicopter (LUH)
Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) is a 3-ton class new generation single engine helicopter indigenously designed and developed by Rotary Wing Research and Design Centre (RWR&DC) of HAL. It has features suitable for operations in the diverse operating conditions unique to India. The LUH will replace the ageing fleet of Cheetah / Chetak helicopters operated by the Services. LUH is certified and Operational Clearance accorded in February 2020 for IAF version & Army Version during February 2021.
Medium Lift Helicopter (MLH)
Also on the anvil is RWRDC’s next big leap into the Medium Lift Helicopter category through the Design & Development of the Indian Multi-Role Helicopter (IMRH) of 13 Ton class to meet the requirement of IAF & Indian Army. Similarly, the Deck-Based Multi-Role Helicopter (DBMRH) of 12.5 Ton class is being developed for Indian Navy and will feature blade folding for ship-deck operations. The preliminary design of the IMRH is nearly completed and the configuration studies for the DBMRH are progressing towards completion. As per current GoI plans, IMRH and DBMRH will be developed under the SPV model with Private Sector participation.
Rotary Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (RUAV)
RWR&DC is currently working on the design of a Rotary UAV to primarily meet the Indian Army’s requirements which call for lifting payload of 20-30 kg at 5.5 km altitude. This platform with minor modifications can also be used by the Navy (or IAF) for meeting specific roles at sea-level conditions, where the payload capacity is around 60kg.
Upgraded Dhruv Civil Helicopter (ALH):
RWR&DC is currently working on the Upgraded Dhruv Civil Helicopter. It is integrated with State-Of-The-Art Glass Cockpit, Automatic Flight Control System, Integrated Dynamic System, Active Vibration System, Crashworthy Structure etc.
This Helicopter can be used for Commuter role as part of Govt. of India UDAN scheme, Heli-tourism, Law Enforcement, Disaster Management, Emergency Medical Services (Air Ambulance Role) and where fixed wing a/c cannot be deployed.
The Helicopter is capable of operating in adverse climatic & terrain conditions; hot & cold weather, high altitude and sandy atmosphere, also capable of night operations.
Currently, Flight testing is under completion, upon which DGCA Certification is expected shortly.
Light Utility Helicopter – Civil (LUH - Civil):
RWR&DC, HAL had taken up the Certification of LUH Civil variant as an offshoot of the LUH Military variant to cater to emerging civil helicopter market (both Domestic & Export market in 3Ton Category).
This certification is being taken up by DGCA as per CAR – 21. LUH Civil variant is a multi-role Helicopter which fits into Utility, Heli Tourism, Air Ambulance roles with best of class features. In High Density Utility role, LUH is capable of carrying 7 passengers with associated cargo upto High altitudes. The helicopter is targeted to be certified for both VFR & IFR operations.
Recently, RWR&DC has been accorded the Production Organization Approval (POA) by DGCA for facilitating the in-house manufacture of the LUH Civil Variant prototype. Project has completed Phase-I and prototype manufacturing commenced.
Upon DGCA certification, LUH Civil variant would become an import substitute and export earner for helicopters in this weight class.