The successful test flight of the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) on Sunday will would go down in the history of Indian combat avionics as a new era in indigenous development of dedicated fighter helicopters in the country.
The Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) has been developed by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
The inaugural test flight of the LCH, which is yet to be christened, has made India enter the elite club of countries in the world which have the capability of designing, developing and manufacturing state of the art advanced combat helicopters.
The successful test flight was conducted at the HAL’s airport here, which was witnessed by a number of distinguished guests, and a huge number of people.
Defence Minister A K Antony, his deputy Pallam Raju and Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal P V Naik were to attend the function, but they cancelled their visit after Saturday’s air disaster at Mangalore.
Secretary Defence Production R K Singh, Vice Chief of Air Staff Air Marshall P K Barbora, Chairman HAL Ashok Nayak besides many other dignitaries were present on the historic public flight of the LCH.
Describing the LCH as the “Tiger Bird”, Vice Chief of Air Staff Air Marshall P K Barbora said: ” It’s a red letter day not only for the HAL but the whole nation. In avionics, the circus must go on,” he said while referring about Saturday’s tragic incident in Mangalore.”
“It is an unveiling of an asset for which the Indian Air Force was desperately looking for. The display was superb. I congratulate the whole HAL team, especially the rotary wing design team,” Air Marshall Barbora said.
He said the LCH has some unmatched combat and stealth features. “This is no mean achievement. There are very few countries that have the capability to build this (LCH) kind of aircraft. I am quite hopeful that the LCH would be ready for induction in the Indian Air Force in coming two to three years,” Air Marshall Barbora added.
The LCH, which weighs 5.8 tonnes, has strike the enemy target moving at a maximum speed of 268 kilometers per hour.
The “Tiger Bird” has been fitted with a 20 mm Turret gun right in the nose, which not only gives it a stunning “fighter” look but also enhances the capability to destroy target with utmost precision.
Due to its narrow fuselage with flat panels
and tandem seating arrangement, in which the pilot and the co-pilot sit behind one another, the LCH is one of most compact fighter helicopter at present.
The glass cockpit, night operation capabilities, along with highly sophisticated mission systems such as the Target Acquistion and Designing System (TADS), Helmet Mounted Sight (HMS) and the Infrared (IR) Supressor are only a few out of numerous advance systems fitted in the LCH.
Apart from basic combat roles, the LCH qualifies for several other tasks as well such as the offensive employment in Urban Warfare, Counter Surface Operations (CSFO) and Counter Insurgency operations. By Shashank Shantanu