Union Government inaugurates production of Light Combat Helicopter at HAL
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.
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.