HAL Rudra Attack Helicopter
|Fully Armed Dhruv Mark IV WSI or HAL Rudra|
Rudra or the weaponized Dhruv is the better system for Army's aviation corps to conduct attack missions. Unlike other systems the Rudra is developed to meet Army's requirement of conducting close air support to the ground troops. Compared to the dedicated attack platform like LCH, The Rudra almost same except some high maneuvering capabilities. The LCH capable to fight in any conditions, However the Rudra only provide air cover to friendly troops inside a safe zone.
Arming the Dhurv comes after Indian Army keep fighting for buying new fleet of attack helicopters for air cover, Even the armed Mi 17 v5 operated under the Air force, since Indian Army don't have any attack helicopters. Army gets a better system for primary air cover to the ground forces. Currently Indian Army only have some Dhruv's for troop transport and resupply.
Army needs two version of modified helicopters, One for reconnaissance and SIGINT purpose, another for dedicated attack support. or by saying Mark III and Mark IV version of Dhurv. The Mark III incorporates reconnaissance hardware along with counter measure suites. The Indian Army Aviation operates some 20 such Mark III Dhruv's.
The Dhruv MK 3 comes with glass cockpit with integrated digital architecture system, the system also support the pilot to follow terrain mapping modes illustrated by on board electro optical systems. Which allows the pilot fly close to the mountain valley's and perform high altitude missions. The SAAB designed integrated electronic warfare suite used to spoof radar guided missiles. Israeli Elbit designed electro optical pod used for surveillance and target tracking, electronic counter measure systems like Chaff and flare used to spoof IR guided missiles. and a Infrared suppressor to reduce the helicopters signatures.
Interestingly the Mark 3 version comes with Indigenously made Sakthi engines, The engine was developed with the support of Safron, France. The same version who also powers the LCH and future variants of Dhurv's. The same engine also used in the prototype version of Russian Ka 60 utility helicopters. The Sakthi is one of the known engine used by the Dhurv mark 3, 4 versions.
|Dhruv with Digital glass cockpit controls|
The Mark IV has all the above specification along with weapon systems, A improved infrared jammer and helmet mounted pointing system. The obstacle avoidance system used in the Rudra used to alert the pilot, if the helicopter flying very closer to an nearby obstacle. The system alert the pilot about small size objects like Electricity power cables, telecom towers and close hills too. The System allows the pilot and observer keep an eye over the target while OAS can control the helicopter.
Unlike the other variants the Rudra carry's only three person, A pilot, Navigation officer and weapon support officer. The back cabin filled with ammunition for close air support. Pockets of 20 mm ammo stored in the back cabin comes with three thousand rounds of ammunition. The Rudra has better range and endurance. So they can keep the ammunition for mission longer period.
Rudra can be armed with 70mm unguided Rockets and missiles like Nag anti tank missile and French made mistral air to air missile. The Naval version comes with two light torpedo's for anti shipping capability. During the Navy's evaluation trails The Israeli Elbit's target tracking system tracked surface ships at the range of 14 kilometers, and the IRST illustrated image quality good enough to read even the designation number of the Ship. Which impressed the Navy to adopt the Dhurv Mark III for coastal surveillance operations. However Navy not interested the WSI Dhruv. but the Mark 3 version.
|Navy's Mark III Dhruv|
Rudra effectively used in Kashmir and Rajasthan during the Trails, which can be used to stop enemy adversaries, Same goes to Eastern sector too. The Indian Army aviation currently operating two Rudra's. Which is deployed close to Kashmir. and the serial production rolling on HAL production line. Same like other projects lack of funds, man power and manufacturing items, Rudra running behind the schedule. Privatizing the Production line brings good number of output in coming years.
The Air force, Army and Navy interested in the Armed variant of the Dhruv. Army already place some sixty units of Rudra, and Air force too order 16 units. However the orders can be increased along with export orders. Currently HAL produced only 27 units of both Mark III and Mark IV Variants.