The multi-purpose Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) that is under development has achieved an important milestone of flying at 6 km altitude. “The helicopter exhibited satisfactory performance and handling qualities. With the completion of this milestone, the LUH can now undertake high altitude cold weather trials planned in January 2019,” its creator, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, said on December 10 2018. The LUH has been undergoing tests to expand its envelop. The recent feat achieved in Bengaluru is a critical requirement for certifying the 3-tonne helicopter for use. Built to fly over high altitude areas, the LUH has a maximum permitted height limit of 6.5 km. HAL already has two in-principle orders for a total of 187 LUHs – 126 for the Army and 61 for the Air Force. Apart from military surveillance and reconnaissance roles, it can also serve as a light civil transport helicopter. The LUH is being designed and developed by HAL’s Rotary Wing Research and Design Centre to replace the aged Cheetah and Chetak helicopters of the Armed Forces. HAL’s Chief Test Pilot Wg. Cdr. (Retd) Unni K. Pillai and Test Pilot Wg. Cdr. (Retd) Anil Bhambhani flew the copter. The LUH’s first prototype, PT-1, first flew on September 6, 2016, and the second prototype flew on May 22, 2017.