India’s first indigenously built light attack helicopter, Rudra, has received its Initial Operational Clearance (IOC), and will be showcased at the upcoming Aero India exposition.

The armed version of the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), made by state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL), will be  delivered to the Indian army at the 9th Aero India show in the Yelahanka air force base in South India. The show begins Feb. 6. IOC was granted by the Center for Military Airworthiness and Certification on Feb. 3.

“This gives us the confidence and it is a proud moment for the country and boosts our indigenous activities,” says R.K. Tyagi, chairman and managing director of HAL.

Powered by two Shakti engines, the Rudra is an armed variant of the Dhruv ALH and has an array of new weapon systems, including 20mm turreted gun, 70mm rocket pods and air-to-air missiles.

P. Soundara Rajan, managing director of HAL’s helicopter division, says the integration of multiple weapons systems simultaneously on the helicopter was a complex assignment.

“In this case, it involved four major groups of systems and weapons, involving eight countries: Israel, France, Belgium, South Africa, Germany, Italy, [the U.S.] and India. Nearly 23 kilometers of cables had to be laid and hundreds of hours of flight and ground tests were carried out,” he says.

The Rudra is designed to carry out both utility and attack missions in the battlefield. It first flew in March 2010.

Dhruv photo: HAL