National Defence Bureau,
Bengaluru, 17 January 2019
The Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) indigenously designed and developed by HAL achieved a unique milestone by successfully carrying out air to air missile firing on a moving aerial target. During the tests conducted in integrated test range at Chandipur, Odisha recently, Wg Cdr Subash P John, VM (Retd), test pilot, Col Ranjit Chitale, (Retd), Flight Test Engineer from HAL and Gp Capt Rajeev Dubey, test pilot from IAF executed a flawless mission and achieved a direct hit on the aerial target, destroying it completely.
R Madhavan, CMD-HAL says this is the first time in the country that a helicopter has carried out air to air missile engagement. None of the helicopters with the military services in the country has demonstrated such a capability. With this, LCH has successfully completed all weapon integration tests and is ready for operational induction, he adds.
Other weapons on LCH include a 20mm Turret gun and 70 mm Rockets, the firing trials of which have already been completed last year.
LCH is the only attack helicopter in the world capable of operating at altitudes as high as Siachen glacier. Designed and developed by Rotary Wing Research & Design Centre (RWRDC) of HAL in response to the operational needs of Indian Armed Forces and its capabilities far exceed that of contemporary attack helicopters of its class.
Equipped with Helmet mounted sight and a forward looking infrared sighting system, LCH pilots can now detect and destroy any target on ground or in the air. Using these sights, pilots can now launch a missile onto any target without having to turn the helicopter. The fire and forget missile is effective against all types of aerial threat, including UAVs and microlight aircraft. Capable of operating from dispersed locations and flying at ultra low levels, LCH can now effectively provide a protective umbrella from all aerial threats.
The DAC has accorded approval for procurement of initial batch of 15 LCHs (10 for IAF and 5 for Army).
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Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 17 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.