Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, today, flown sorties of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas and Light Combat Helicopter (LCH); he praised machines built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)
National Defence Bureau,
Bengaluru, 21 February 2019
The Army Chief, General Bipin Rawat, flew the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) during the ongoing Aero India at Air Force Station, Yelahanka, here today. The helicopter was piloted by Wg Cdr S John, HAL’s Test Pilot.
Terming the sortie in LCH as an experience of life time, he said it is suitable for the Army to take on adversaries in any terrain and different altitudes. R. Madhavan, CMD, HAL, G.V.S Bhaskar, CEO (Helicopter Complex), Wg Cdr, Unni Pillai, HAL’s Chief Test Pilot (Rotary Wing) and other senior officials from Army had a briefing session before the sortie.
About Light Combat Helicopter (LCH)
LCH is a 5.5-ton class, combat helicopter designed and developed by HAL. It is powered by two Shakti engines and inherits many technical features of the Advanced Light Helicopter. The features that are unique to LCH are sleek and narrow fuselage, tri-cycle crashworthy landing gear, crashworthy and self-sealing fuel tanks, armor protection and low visibility features which makes it agile and survivable.
The helicopter would have day/night targeting systems for the crew including the Helmet pointed sight and Electro-optical pod consisting of CCD camera/FLIR/Laser Range Finder(LRF)/Laser Designator(LD).
The LCH is fitted with Self Protection Suite consisting of Radar/Laser Missile warning systems and Countermeasures dispensing system. LCH received Initial Operation Clearance (IOC) on August 26, 2017, in the presence of the Defence Minister.
LCH has the distinction of being the first attack helicopter to land in Forward Bases at Siachen, 4700 mts above sea level. RFQ for 15 Limited Series Production (LSP) was received on December 22, 2017, and quotation has been submitted on March 15, 2018.
General Bipin Rawat also took a sortie in India’s own indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas.
Chief of the Army Staff General Bipin Rawat was flown in trainer version of DRDO’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas today to demonstrate the operational capabilities of the aircraft during Aero India 2019 at Bengaluru. Air Vice Marshal N Tiwari, Head of National Flight Test Centre (NFTC) at Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Bengaluru piloted this aircraft.
On this occasion, Tejas was flown at medium altitude to showcase the Pin-point attack capabilities using a Laser Designation Pod (LDP).
The Army Chief was demonstrated the maneuvering and radar capabilities of the aircraft. After the sortie, the Army chief expressed immense satisfaction and said that Tejas is a wonderful aircraft and if it gets added to the IAF inventory, it will be a great asset.
A familiarization sortie in LCA Trainer was also conducted for the Principal Scientific Adviser to Government of India, Prof K Vijay Raghavan, which was flown by Group Captain S. Gunasekaran, the test pilot from NFTC. This was a handling sortie of 30 minutes duration during which Prof Vijay Raghavan experienced the controls of the aircraft and maneuvered it for some time.
Final Operational Clearance (FOC) of LCA Tejas MK-I certificate was handed over on 20th February 2019 by Dr G Satheesh Reddy, Secretary Department of Defence R&D, Chairman DRDO & Director General ADA to the Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa in presence of Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra and Chairman & Managing Director of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited R Madhavan.
Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 15 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.