Union Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on 26 August 2017 launched the production of 5.8-tonne category Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), designed by state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
Earlier in November 2016, the Defence Ministry had cleared a Rs 2911 crore procurement of 15 LCHs as a Limited Series Production (LSP) order, with estimated cost of Rs 200 crore per helicopter. However, the final cost comes out to Rs 231 crore per LCH at 2017-18 prices.
HAL is responsible for the design, development and manufacture of these LCHs.
Highlights of the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH)
• HAL has custom-designed the 5.8-tonne LCH to provide fire support to the army at mountainous deployment areas on the northern borders, which can be as high as 6000 metres.
• LCH will provide crucial fire support to army with its 20-millimetre turret gun and 70-millimetre rockets at such rarefied altitudes where the shortage of oxygen prevents troops from carrying heavy weapons into battle.
• LCH has already demonstrated the capability to land and take off from Siachen Range (sic) with considerable load, fuel and weapons that are beyond any other combat helicopter.
• These helicopters can carry out operational roles under extreme weather conditions at different altitudes from sea level, hot weather desert, cold weather and Himalayan altitudes.
• The high-altitude performance of the LCH originates from twin Shakti engines that were designed for HAL by French helicopter engine maker Turbomeca and were built in Bengaluru.
• The helicopters have a narrow fuselage in which two pilots sit one-behind-the-other in an armoured cockpit that can protect them from small arms firing.
• These new attack helicopters have a hinge-less main rotor, a bearing-less tail rotor, integrated dynamic system, crashworthy landing gear and a smart all-glass cockpit.
• The LCH’s weapons and sensors were developed and tested on an armed variant of the Dhruv called the Rudra.
When: 26 August 2017
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