HAL successfully tests Light Combat Helicopter for first time
State-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd for first time has successfully flown home-made 5.8-tonne Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) with its own automatic flight control system. The 20 minute maiden flight of the multirole copter was flawless with the engagement of the flight control system throughout.
The helicopter is powered by two Shakti engines and has many features of indigenous Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv. It also has day and night targeting systems for crew, including helmet-pointed sight and electro-optical pod.
It is twin-seat chopper is equipped for day-and-night combat operations with digital camouflage system for stealth actions and is known for its agility. The indigenous flight control system of LCH developed by HAL will replace the imported one.
The company has also indigenised attack helicopter’s display system or integrated architecture display system with involvement of private industry. So far HAL has built four technology demonstrators of LCH for flight testing. One of them also landed in forward bases at Siachen, located 5,400 metres above sea level in eastern Karakoram range of Himalayas.
HAL had received a request for proposal (RFP) on December 22 for the supply of 15 LCH from Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Army. The deal was cleared by Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) in 2016 for purchase of 10 LCH for IAF and five for Indian Army. The LCH also participated in IAF’s Iron Fist exercise in March 2016 and had displayed its rocket-firing capabilities in weaponised configuration. The then Defence Minister Arun Jaitely had launched LCH production when it received the initial operational clearance.