In a major development, the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) indigenously developed and designed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has completed weapons trials.
It did so by successfully carrying out air-to-air missile firing on a moving aerial target, HAL announced on Thursday. The trials were conducted at the integrated test range at Chandipur, Odisha where Indian Air Force’s test pilots achieved a direct hit on an aerial target, destroying it.
The LCH is now ready to be inducted into the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army, HAL said in a statement.
A First For An Indian Helicopter
This is the first time that a helicopter has carried out such an air-to-air missile operation. None of the helicopters in military service in India has demonstrated with such capability before.
With the successful trial of air-to-air missile firing on a moving target, the Light Combat Helicopter has completed all weapon integration tests.
The LCH also had other weapons like the 20mm Turret gun and 60 mm rockets, the firing trials of which have already been completed last year.
Light Combat Helicopter – Special Features
LCH pilots are equipped with a helmet-mounted sight and a forward-looking infrared sighting system which helps them to detect and destroy any target on ground or in air.
Using the sight equipment, a missile can be launched onto any target without having to turn the helicopter.
The fire-and-forgot missile can fight against all the aerial threats such as UAVs and microlight aircraft. It can operate from dispersed locations as well as flying at ultra-low levels, providing a protective umbrella against such threats.
Other features of the helicopter are armour protection, night attack capability and crash worthy landing gear for better survivability.
A Boon For The Armed Forces
The only attack helicopter in the world capable of operating at altitudes as high as the Siachien Glacier, the LCH has been designed to meet the operational requirements of the Indian armed forces.
The Rotary Wing Research and Design Centre (RWRDC) of HAL designed and developed it with capabilities that far exceed that of contemporary attack helicopters of its class.
Out of initial batch of 15 LCHs for which the government’s Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has accorded approval for procurement, 10 will be for the Indian Air Force. The rest of them will be operated by the Indian Army.