WHAT’S IN A NAME? “RUDRA” – INDIAN ARMY ATTACK HELICOPTER
I arrived into this world at my maternal grandfather’s home on Kutchery Street, near Kapaleeswarar Temple in Mylapore, Madras, Chennai. My father named me “RUDRA” to please LORD Shiva to obtain His blessings to defend my mortal existence.
Indeed, those blessings helped me to act with courage while taking part in military action in remote Chittagong Hill Tracts during Bangladesh Ops of 1971-72. My Unit Commander Lieutenant Colonel B K Narayan, my Brigade Commander Brigadier T S Oberoi, and my Formation Commander Major General Sujan Singh Uban recommended the award of ‘Vir Chakra’ for my display of gallantry in providing medical support at Enemy Post that we captured.
Our Medical Plan for this military action included use of Russian Army Mi 4 helicopter to air lift battlefield casualties. However, Prime Minister of India, Mrs. Indira Gandhi who sanctioned this covert military assault refused to send helicopter to Enemy’s Post located deep inside Enemy territory. As air lift was not provided, I marched on foot to reach a helipad in Indian territory to safely evacuate my patients to Field Hospital saving their lives.
In 1971, Indian Army refused to grant me the Gallantry Award recommended for there was delay in transmission of ‘Citation’ from Army Medical Directorate building to MS Branch building, at Army HQ in New Delhi. Indian Army did not account for the delay in dispatch of helicopter to provide airlift support for battlefield casualties and further failed to acknowledge my timely intervention to defend lives of soldiers on battlefield.
I am pleased to note that Indian Army has chosen the name “RUDRA” for its Advanced Light Helicopter.
Rudra Narasimham Rebbapragada
SPECIAL FRONTIER FORCE
HAL RUDRA (ALH WSI) ATTACK HELICOPTER – ARMY TECHNOLOGY
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)
Maximum Take-off Weight
Rudra is an attack helicopter manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), for the Indian Army. It is the Weapon System Integrated (WSI) Mk-IV variant of the Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH). Rudra is the first armed helicopter being produced indigenously in India.
The HAL Rudra helicopter can be deployed in wide range of missions, including reconnaissance, troop transport, anti-tank warfare and close air support.
HAL was contracted to deliver about 76 Rudra ALH Mk-IV helicopters for the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force. The Indian Army plans to equip its Army Aviation Corps with 60 helicopters, forming six squadrons. HAL handed over the first Rudra helicopter to the Indian Army in February 2013.
Design and development of the attack helicopter
“HAL was contracted to deliver about 76 Rudra ALH Mk-IV helicopters for the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force.”
Development for the WSI variant was authorized in December 1998. The prototype made its first flight in August 2007. Rudra completed a final round of weapon firing trials in September 2011. The 20mm turreted gun was tested during these trials.
The Mistral air-to-air missiles and 70mm rockets were tested on Rudra in November 2011. Mistral is an infrared homing missile, which is capable of striking the targets within a range of 6.5km. The ground tests for the first production helicopter were concluded in September 2012.
HAL Rudra Mk-IV received initial operational clearance (IOC) from Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC) in February 2013. The helicopter was displayed for the first time at Aero India 2013 show.
HAL Rudra incorporates a conventional design. Carbon fiber composite materials have been used in construction to achieve weight reduction. The twin engines mounted above the cabin are attached to a four-blade composite main rotor. The cockpit is made of Kevlar and carbon-fiber materials.
Rudra has a length of 15.8m, main rotor diameter of 13.2m and a height of 4.9m. The maximum take-off weight of the helicopter is 5,500kg. Rudra can carry a payload of 2,600kg.
Cockpit and avionics systems of Rudra
The advanced glass cockpit of Rudra houses crash-worthy seats for accommodating two crew members. The night vision goggle (NVG) compatible cockpit is equipped with multifunction displays, dual flight controls and automatic flight control system.
The avionics suite integrates a global positioning system, FLIR, HF/UHF communications radio, Infrared Friend or Foe (IFF) identification system, Doppler navigation and a radio altimeter. The electro-optic pod, helmet-mounted sight and fixed sights ensure the pilots can accurately engage targets using onboard weapons.
Armament and countermeasures of the Indian helicopter
The Nexter THL-20 chin mounted gun turret is fitted with a 20mm M621 automatic cannon. The gun can fire at a rate of 750 rounds per minute. It has an effective range of 2,000m.
“The Mistral air-to-air missiles and 70mm rockets were tested on Rudra in November 2011.”
The stub wings of Rudra can be fitted with up to eight Helina (Helicopter-launched Nag) anti-tank guided missiles, four MBDA Mistral short-range air-to-air missiles or four rocket pods for 68mm/70mm rockets.
The HAL Rudra helicopter is equipped with SAAB Integrated Defensive Aids Suite (IDAS), radar warning receiver, IR jammer, flare and chaff dispenser.
The IDAS can be integrated with RWS-300 radar-warning sensor, LWS-310 laser warning sensor, MAW-300 missile-approach warning sensor and BOP-L series advanced lightweight countermeasures dispensing system.
HAL Rudra engines and landing gear
The HAL Rudra helicopter is powered by two HAL / Turbomeca Ardiden 1H1 (Shakti) turboshaft engines. Each engine delivers a maximum continuous power of 1,067kW. The operation of the engines is controlled by full authority digital engine control (FADEC) system. The helicopter has a fixed-type metal skid landing gear. The tail section features a tail skid to protect the tail rotor during tail-down landings.
The helicopter has a maximum continuous speed of 270km/h. The never exceed speed of the helicopter is 300km/h. Rudra can fly at a maximum altitude of 20,000ft and can climb at a rate of 10.3m/s. It has a range of 660km.