HAL Indian Multirole Helicopter (IMRH) : Updates & Discussions

Milspec

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The first IMRH prototype itself is expected to fly in 2025-26 with a full 5 yr certification period to follow.

Sometimes the Indian aerospace ecosystem amazes me . Here we had Tejas & not having built a single jet fighter ( discounting the Marut experience which by the 1980's had become redundant) or having the necessary industrial ecosystem or expertise we went in for indigenous design, R&D of the engine , avionics like radar, etc, FCL, FBW, composite skin, etc.

Today, here we are with the IMRH a full 2 decades + of having successfully developed a full family of light hptrs viz ALH with it's various iterations & derivatives & what are we attempting in the next project? Zero . We've swung to the opposite end of the pendulum.

The IMRH isn't a revolutionary design, there's no FBW, we aren't even attempting to build an indigenous engine. Forget revolutionary, we aren't even going evolutionary.

Being ex HAL, I'd be very interested in your take on this . @Milspec

The helicopter division of HAL has had good leadership. ADA, unfortunately, hasn't. To be fair to ADA, LCA was a very ambitious endeavor, while ALH was a relatively simpler product. But the biggest difference that remains is that HAL created smart goals and got ALH right. Because of a successful moderate capability helicopter, it became the basis for continuous product development and off shoot projects based on best practices.
Very similar examples exist in the auto industry.

ALH coincided with proper lean systems being integrated into HAL manufacturing and proper project management tools being introduced into what till then was traditional babudom system of PSU's.

With ALH, the best thing India/HAL/MoD did was a secure clear path to Snecma Shakti powerplant. If you can have a great powerplant you can have multiple systems around it. HAL planned ahead on the forward integration for product development.

One of the things you rightly point out in your post is the iterations, look at the mk variants and the gradual upgrades in the system improving serviceability as well as reliability.


The last thing I would mention is Prop planes and Helicopters make great cases for development and variations that can fit different niches. like say a Truck / SUV platform. With tweaking the same F-Alpha Frame Nissan put out the Xterra, Pathfinder,Patrol, Titan, Frontier and the Armada with just two engines, 4 liter v6 and 5.7l v8.

Combat jets are more akin to building a Formula One car, you can take technolgies from it and integrate that into other products, but the platform can just do one thing, you cant develop it variants that would fit other needs. ADA's LCA is bit like that, it can only serve as a foundational project for something completely new, but it will take too much time and effort to spawn a variant that would do something different. Even a two-seat version or a naval variant is vastly different. That is just the nature of the beast.

Now comes the ability of HAL/IAF/MOD combination how it can squeeze the most out of the LCA,

>There is no harm in running a small batch of LCA mk1 Naval variant, operate it primarily as a maritime fighter with capability to land on carriers.

> Program cost of LCA improves if it can produce more aircrafts, Utilize the platform as the LIFT trainer (may be use lower power engine)

> Utilize MK2 project to test subsystems, composites and electronics for AMCA with concurrent engineering, so the flight systems are validated from the get go.

>Research a LCA Mk2 XL (Similar to f16XL) high endurance system as a low cost replacement option for Jaguars.

> Use LCA mk1 systems to test out fully autonomous networked combat jets.
 

_Anonymous_

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Dec 4, 2017
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The helicopter division of HAL has had good leadership. ADA, unfortunately, hasn't. To be fair to ADA, LCA was a very ambitious endeavor, while ALH was a relatively simpler product. But the biggest difference that remains is that HAL created smart goals and got ALH right. Because of a successful moderate capability helicopter, it became the basis for continuous product development and off shoot projects based on best practices.
Very similar examples exist in the auto industry.

ALH coincided with proper lean systems being integrated into HAL manufacturing and proper project management tools being introduced into what till then was traditional babudom system of PSU's.

With ALH, the best thing India/HAL/MoD did was a secure clear path to Snecma Shakti powerplant. If you can have a great powerplant you can have multiple systems around it. HAL planned ahead on the forward integration for product development.

One of the things you rightly point out in your post is the iterations, look at the mk variants and the gradual upgrades in the system improving serviceability as well as reliability.


The last thing I would mention is Prop planes and Helicopters make great cases for development and variations that can fit different niches. like say a Truck / SUV platform. With tweaking the same F-Alpha Frame Nissan put out the Xterra, Pathfinder,Patrol, Titan, Frontier and the Armada with just two engines, 4 liter v6 and 5.7l v8.

Combat jets are more akin to building a Formula One car, you can take technolgies from it and integrate that into other products, but the platform can just do one thing, you cant develop it variants that would fit other needs. ADA's LCA is bit like that, it can only serve as a foundational project for something completely new, but it will take too much time and effort to spawn a variant that would do something different. Even a two-seat version or a naval variant is vastly different. That is just the nature of the beast.

Now comes the ability of HAL/IAF/MOD combination how it can squeeze the most out of the LCA,

>There is no harm in running a small batch of LCA mk1 Naval variant, operate it primarily as a maritime fighter with capability to land on carriers.

> Program cost of LCA improves if it can produce more aircrafts, Utilize the platform as the LIFT trainer (may be use lower power engine)

> Utilize MK2 project to test subsystems, composites and electronics for AMCA with concurrent engineering, so the flight systems are validated from the get go.

>Research a LCA Mk2 XL (Similar to f16XL) high endurance system as a low cost replacement option for Jaguars.

> Use LCA mk1 systems to test out fully autonomous networked combat jets.
Informative & analytical post on expected lines from you but the thrust of my post was on the IMRH & HAL's sticking to the beaten path there.

To re iterate - no revolutionary design, no FBW, no indigenous turbo shaft as well. Doesn't it come across as playing too safe not to mention whether the design itself would be relevant going ahead in the 2030's , 40's etc.
 

Milspec

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Informative & analytical post on expected lines from you but the thrust of my post was on the IMRH & HAL's sticking to the beaten path there.

To re iterate - no revolutionary design, no FBW, no indigenous turbo shaft as well. Doesn't it come across as playing too safe not to mention whether the design itself would be relevant going ahead in the 2030's , 40's etc.
I think it has to do with capability, I do not think HAL's ARDC possesses the manpower or resources to position itself there with the big guns in rotary field. It would much rather find development partners to leapfrog in its capability.

For HAL to be successful, it needs to strike the right balance between elbow grease and smart work, both for technology as well as business development. Position itself in the right niches, to drive volume, capability building will come naturally.

imo LUH will serve as a development platform for both Fly by wire/ full optical fibre harness, autonomous vertical lift drones. It will happen as a stand-alone project.

IMRH along with ALH will be cash cow for HAL, LCH will see a bit more development and turn into an export grade product.


On a general note, HAL is at crossroads, there are private companies nipping at it's heels in the domestic market, and it needs to Long-range planning on the strategic roadmap and start provisioning for setting up a robust service system and start entering into strategic partnerships with foreign companies. It has developed great relationships with russian, israeli, german, french, US companies, it should now start focussing on African and Latin American markets, and start looking to build for markets in both military and commercial domains. In the domestic market there is no harm in exploring options with business houses aching to get in such as the Ambani's, if anything plan to consolidate its position with strategic business arangements.
 

_Anonymous_

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On a general note, HAL is at crossroads, there are private companies nipping at it's heels in the domestic market, and it needs to Long-range planning on the strategic roadmap and start provisioning for setting up a robust service system and start entering into strategic partnerships with foreign companies. It has developed great relationships with russian, israeli, german, french, US companies, it should now start focussing on African and Latin American markets, and start looking to build for markets in both military and commercial domains.
Thinking aloud, pardon the ignorance, HAL should take a cue from the service industry here & offer it's services to western OEM's as a service provider to all the products they export including as a depot for overhauls & upgradation work. It makes sense for the Western OEM's too as they save quite a bit adding to the topline.

If MMRCA 2.0 goes thru with DA, I suspect that's what their JV in India would do apart from manufacturing.
 

Milspec

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Thinking aloud, pardon the ignorance, HAL should take a cue from the service industry here & offer it's services to western OEM's as a service provider to all the products they export including as a depot for overhauls & upgradation work. It makes sense for the Western OEM's too as they save quite a bit adding to the topline.

If MMRCA 2.0 goes thru with DA, I suspect that's what their JV in India would do apart from manufacturing.

You know this better than me, no one wants to part with its service side. At least on capital commodity equipment market, manufacturing side best margins 15- 25%, service side 100-150%.
Fixing a braze or a weld in the factory is what $200, same thing on the field is $2000.

Defence companies make a crap ton of money through their service arm, that's the golden goose no one want's to let go of. And then service as a structure is chaotic. HAL can barely deal with it's own chaos, trying to solve other people's chaos is beyond comprehension for HAL, it has been building MKI's all this while, and it has never shown the interest in even supporting that platform for other MK variant operators.

For MMRCA 2.0 I would suggest the opposite, HAL is great at manufacturing subsystems, it can outperform anyone in delivering precision components, but when it comes to integration and service side support, If I was in HAL I wouldn't sign up for it.
 

_Anonymous_

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You know this better than me, no one wants to part with its service side. At least on capital commodity equipment market, manufacturing side best margins 15- 25%, service side 100-150%.
Fixing a braze or a weld in the factory is what $200, same thing on the field is $2000.
Yup. That's known . I was referring to skilled labor. We have a surfeit of cheap skilled labor.
 

Ashwin

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Informative & analytical post on expected lines from you but the thrust of my post was on the IMRH & HAL's sticking to the beaten path there.

To re iterate - no revolutionary design, no FBW, no indigenous turbo shaft as well. Doesn't it come across as playing too safe not to mention whether the design itself would be relevant going ahead in the 2030's , 40's etc.
HAL as a company exists under 90% ownership of the state to help armed forces nothing else. They are not incentivized for high-risk/high-reward games like a private corporation.

We should be appreciating HAL for their efforts on engine and 10+ ton helicopter design.


IN to opt for same turboshaft engines as in MH-60 , the GE - T-700 turboshafts according to HAL , as per this news video .
Please do not post these kind of gossip videos without any original source.
 

_Anonymous_

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Please do not post these kind of gossip videos without any original source.
Practically 8/10 posts here are either speculation or based on speculation. Unless you want official press releases as posts only from the armed services, MoD, various ordnance companies in the public & pvt sector ( that too will pvt sector do or is it only public sector?) , DRDO etc, kindly come up with list of guidelines on whom we ought to quote.

Eg - To elaborate Ajay Shukla made a claim a couple of days ago to which the IA issued a rebuttal, both of which featured here. As per your guidelines, should we have waited for the IA rebuttal before posting Shukla's views ?
 

Ashwin

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Practically 8/10 posts here are either speculation or based on speculation. Unless you want official press releases as posts only from the armed services, MoD, various ordnance companies in the public & pvt sector ( that too will pvt sector do or is it only public sector?) , DRDO etc, kindly come up with list of guidelines on whom we ought to quote.
Yes, Discussions based on what we know is true.
Eg - To elaborate Ajay Shukla made a claim a couple of days ago to which the IA issued a rebuttal, both of which featured here. As per your guidelines, should we have waited for the IA rebuttal before posting Shukla's views
Easy, ajay is a journalist and these are not. They make random clickbait videos based on journalistic work for views. Sometimes based on imagination like above.
 
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_Anonymous_

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Yes, Discussions based on what we know is true.

Easy, ajay is a journalist and these are not. They make random clickbait videos based on journalistic work for views. Sometimes based on imagination like above.
So Ajay Shukla with a patchy track record which gets called out all the time by the services other commentators etc is alright coz he's a "reputed" journalist & is entitled to a free pass but newbies to the business quoting official sources need to prove their credentials. Have you even seen the video?
 
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Sathya

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After ALH, we could do LCH.
Is there any combat heli design that came out of IMRH type copters?

And is there any chance IMRH design also change with development lika amca undergone..?
 

Milspec

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After ALH, we could do LCH.
Is there any combat heli design that came out of IMRH type copters?

And is there any chance IMRH design also change with development lika amca undergone..?
IMRH is 4000kg useful payload system.
Similar to mi17, NH90.

Mi17 which is based on the Mi8 served as the platform for the development of MI24
while NH90 has Naval variants focussing on ASW, ASuW, as well as combat transport.

So there are development paths for the IMRH too.

There is scope for a ground-up ALH ASW variant with folding wings, not the retrofit shit that HAL is trying to shove up IN's throat.

HAL needs to get it's munition game straight, as long as HAL depends on EU for it's frontline munitions it will keep getting screwed. It needs to work with BEL and BDL to get functional weapon systems for both it's rotary and fixed-wing fleet. It could also be another vertical HAL can expand into if it has the chops.
 

Milspec

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Yup. That's known . I was referring to skilled labor. We have a surfeit of cheap skilled labor.
That is debatable... ohh do you mean Sr. Engineers and Sr. Managers, sure yes. But once our people get skill ful they want a nice desk job. (Atleast in HAL)
 
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jetray

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But once our people get skill ful they want a nice desk job.
Its the least skillful ppl who ends up in desk job, as there is more politics in decision & less focus on skill. At the end of the day ppl measure success by how many cows & sheep one manages not by what they delivered.

In the west ratio is some what skewed towards technical leaders in most of the progressive domains, they are good enuf to start companies on their own and most of the do. In India its either the num of years of exp or theeeeee MBA who can count with fingers behind their backs.
 

Lolwa

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HAL needs to get it's munition game straight, as long as HAL depends on EU for it's frontline munitions it will keep getting screwed. It needs to work with BEL and BDL to get functional weapon systems for both it's rotary and fixed-wing fleet. It could also be another vertical HAL can expand into if it has the chops.
This is extremely important thing that we need to focus on. Our munitions research is extremely bad and so is our portfolio. This is where we might be actually behind Pakistanis too. The whole thing isnt that out of control until you realise that Turks have basically made an entire portfolio of a2g smart munitions for Helicopters,Drones to their f16's so those munitions will be sold to Pakistanis. And they are not average. They are on par or slightly inferior to EU and Israeli munitions.
This is their portfolio right now.
Roketsan Cirit
images - 2021-07-27T104042.803.jpeg

Used on their t129 atak helos are laser guided 70mm rockets. Only equivalent are the euro APKWS and Israeli GATR

Then there is MAM-C and MAM-L of smart guided micro anti personnel munitions.
images - 2021-07-27T104423.797.jpeg

The entire turkish drone war from Libya to Armenia has been fought using these two munitions single handedly.
MAM-C 8km
MAM-L 8-14km
MAM-T 30-80km

Now for their ATGM they have UMTAS and OMTAS and are on par with spike LR. But here we are ahead in terms of range but not implementing the Turks have been using it since atleast 2019 on their t-129 atak.
images - 2021-07-27T105045.667.jpeg


Then they have an already running a2g cruise missile called SOM with 250-280KM max range
Again not so capable range wise..already in use and used by their f-4 and f16's...Behind the KEPD 350 or SCALP but it's still something..
images - 2021-07-27T105419.206.jpeg


Turks already have jdam class systems
Teber1.jpg

Teber guidance kit.
And finally there new spice 2000 tier system
images - 2021-07-27T110131.237.jpeg

Though still in entry stage. Point is in any future conflict Pakjabis will have access to these systems. And Turks primarily use the f16 so all of these system will be easily integrated to Pakistani f16's. If we don't develop these system equivalents on our own right now and pre-empt it we will be in a questionable position. Turks already have an aim 120c5 class missile in development along with an aim 9x class missile. In bozdogan ang gokdogan.
270px-Göktuğ.jpg

Point is these systems will be in our neighborhood by the next 5 -7 years. While extremely short range. They can give Pakistanis good variety of stand off munitions. We need similar type systems.
And turkish requirements and situation has made all of these products cheap,small and precise. If we make all of these system equivalents in India Tejas single-handedly can win us the war.
The damage in Nagorno Karabakh wasn't done by the drones as much as these munitions.
We right now already have SANT ATGM,SAAW and Sudarshan LGB in that we still don't have basic 70mm guided rockets forget something like the apkws or Cirit. Then we need to make something like the MAM-L and MAM-C.
But sadly the air force is filled with jocks and the army is too self.ovsessed to make the air force the spear of the assault. And the rustom program is in shambles..
 

_Anonymous_

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We right now already have SANT ATGM,SAAW and Sudarshan LGB in that we still don't have basic 70mm

I believe I read somewhere the Pinakas can be easily converted for use with hptrs. Not sure how accurate that assessment is but this goes to the heart of the problem with our R&D.

SSBNs / SSNs but no SSKs. LCA in it's various iterations with AMCA & TEDBF in the pipeline but not much of a blueprint on the roadmap ahead for drones just developments in isolation. Arjun & it's various iterations & in all possibilities the NGMBT too but no assault rifles. And on & on....

Fortunately the problems regarding the development of such munitions as you've described isn't too much of a big deal just a question of focus not is importing it much of a hassle.
 
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randomradio

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This is extremely important thing that we need to focus on. Our munitions research is extremely bad and so is our portfolio. This is where we might be actually behind Pakistanis too. The whole thing isnt that out of control until you realise that Turks have basically made an entire portfolio of a2g smart munitions for Helicopters,Drones to their f16's so those munitions will be sold to Pakistanis. And they are not average. They are on par or slightly inferior to EU and Israeli munitions.
This is their portfolio right now.
Roketsan Cirit
View attachment 20359
Used on their t129 atak helos are laser guided 70mm rockets. Only equivalent are the euro APKWS and Israeli GATR

Then there is MAM-C and MAM-L of smart guided micro anti personnel munitions.View attachment 20360
The entire turkish drone war from Libya to Armenia has been fought using these two munitions single handedly.
MAM-C 8km
MAM-L 8-14km
MAM-T 30-80km

Now for their ATGM they have UMTAS and OMTAS and are on par with spike LR. But here we are ahead in terms of range but not implementing the Turks have been using it since atleast 2019 on their t-129 atak.
View attachment 20361

Then they have an already running a2g cruise missile called SOM with 250-280KM max range
Again not so capable range wise..already in use and used by their f-4 and f16's...Behind the KEPD 350 or SCALP but it's still something..View attachment 20362

Turks already have jdam class systems
View attachment 20363
Teber guidance kit.
And finally there new spice 2000 tier systemView attachment 20364
Though still in entry stage. Point is in any future conflict Pakjabis will have access to these systems. And Turks primarily use the f16 so all of these system will be easily integrated to Pakistani f16's. If we don't develop these system equivalents on our own right now and pre-empt it we will be in a questionable position. Turks already have an aim 120c5 class missile in development along with an aim 9x class missile. In bozdogan ang gokdogan.View attachment 20365
Point is these systems will be in our neighborhood by the next 5 -7 years. While extremely short range. They can give Pakistanis good variety of stand off munitions. We need similar type systems.
And turkish requirements and situation has made all of these products cheap,small and precise. If we make all of these system equivalents in India Tejas single-handedly can win us the war.
The damage in Nagorno Karabakh wasn't done by the drones as much as these munitions.
We right now already have SANT ATGM,SAAW and Sudarshan LGB in that we still don't have basic 70mm guided rockets forget something like the apkws or Cirit. Then we need to make something like the MAM-L and MAM-C.
But sadly the air force is filled with jocks and the army is too self.ovsessed to make the air force the spear of the assault. And the rustom program is in shambles..

We have all these equivalents and more, but they are all being developed according to DRDO time.
 
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