The Rudra is an armed helicopter researched and developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) of India.
The Indian Army is planning to buy at least 350 helicopters of all kinds, including the indigenous Light Combat Helicopter and the battle-proven Apache. The Indian Army is expected to buy two kinds of utility choppers and three combat helicopters. In particular, the HAL Rudra helicopter squadron with 20mm and 70mm cannons will be staffed in 2020. Along with that, India is also expected to receive the results of the domestic light combat helicopter program in the near future.
Rudra helicopter has a traditional design. Carbon fiber and composite materials have been used in aircraft structure to reduce weight. Two identical engines are placed above the cabin and are linked to a four-blade propeller. The cockpit and the electronic system compartment are protected by Kevlar armor and carbon fiber material.
Rudra has a length of 15.8m, a main rotor diameter of 13.2m and a height of 4.9m. The maximum takeoff weight of the helicopter is 5,500 kg. Rudra can carry a load of 2,600 kg.
Rudra’s advanced glazed glass cockpit, designed for a crew of 2 pilots. In addition, Rudra is also equipped with night vision goggles (NVG) and multifunction screens, dual flight control systems and automatic flight control systems.
The avionics suite integrates a global positioning system, FLIR, communications radio, Infrared Friend or Foe 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.
Rudra uses two Turbomeca Shakti turboshaft engines, each engine delivers a maximum continuous power of 1,432 Shaft horsepower. This helps the helicopter has a maximum speed of 245km/h, the range of 590km, the service ceiling is 6100m and can climb at a rate of 10.3m/s.
Rudra’s firepower was very powerful.
1 × 20mm M621 cannon on Nexter THL-20 chin-mounted gun turret 1 × 7.62 mm cabin-mounted machine gun (coast guard version) 2×2 MBDA Mistral-1 short-range air-to-air missiles 4 × 70 mmThales 12-round rocket pods 4×2 Helina anti-tank guided missiles (In development) 2 torpedoes or depth charges and 4 anti-ship missiles (planned for navy version)
In addition, Rudra is equipped with SAAB Integrated Defensive Aids Suite, radar warning receiver, IR jammer, flare and chaff dispenser. The Integrated Defensive Aids Suite 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.
The Indian Army currently operates Chetak and Cheetah choppers, the HAL Dhruv since 2001, and its armed variant Rudra since 2013.
Armed with modern weapons and equipment for both the army, the air force and the navy, this shows the Indian government’s attention to defense. More specifically, besides spending huge amounts of money to buy foreign weapons, New Delhi is also actively promoting domestic weapons production programs, with the prime example being the Light Combat Helicopter program.