The Indian Navy has finally decided to come onboard the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) proposed development of the 10ton Indian Multi-Role Helicopter (IMRH) medium-lift helicopter program. HAL has assured the Navy that the Naval-IMRH will have a different engine as requested by the Navy and will have design changes that are optimized for sea level operations including longer range and payload capacity than the Army/Airforce variants.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) plans to equip Airforce / Army variants of the Indian Multi-Role Helicopter (IMRH) with one set of engine options and Navy with another engine option. HAL received bids from France for its Aneto turboshaft engine family, from Russia on its VK-2500PS-03 helicopter turboshaft engine that are used on Mi-17V in service with IAF, and America’s GE Aviation has offered its T700-401C/-701C engines that are also used on the Sikorsky SH-60/MH-60 Seahawk .
HAL is expected to have a modular engine bay design that can cater to two different engines so has no to be dependent on one source of OEM that will be license manufactured locally in India once they are finalized by the users. Both Army and air force will likely settle for the same set of engines. Navy will likely opt for the Variant of the GE Aviation’s developed T700-401C/-701C engine family that are usually optimized as per user requirement, variant of which is also used on the 24 MH-60 Seahawk Helicopters that were ordered by the Indian Navy.
Indian Navy has plans to acquire 63 Naval-IMRH that are optimized for the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) / Anti-Surface missions and 27 to be used for (ASuW) Special Operations / Search & Rescue (SAR) mission profiles. T700-401C/-701C engines are operational widely in many countries and have a 98% Availability rate and also are used as powerplants in S Korean KAI KUH-1 Surion, European NHIndustries NH90, and also on British-Italian AgustaWestland AW189 Medium Class Helicopters.