Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will begin the production of Light Utility Helicopters (LUH) in a new facility located near Bangalore, India in three and a half years according to reports in the Indian media.
The Hindu online reported that HAL received documents for 610 acres of land around the town of Gubbi in the state of Karnataka, around 55 miles north of Bangalore. Mallikarjuna Swamy, a consultant to HAL said that the construction of the facility would begin once power lines had been relocated.
He said that the helicopters would be in the three tons class and would be for use by the Indian Army and Air Force. Annual manufacturing output was expected to be around 50 helicopters.
India’s current fleet of Army Aerospatiale Alouette IIIs (Chetak) and Aerospatiale SA315B Lama Cheetah) helicopters are still operating despite being well beyond their planned out-of-service dates. Their continued use has become of such concern due to the high number of crashes and fatalities that a group of Indian Army officers' wives have formed a group to lobby the government for flying on both types to be halted immediately.