The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is scheduled to deliver the first batch of three indigenous Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) to Army and Air Force before March 31, a defence official said. They are part of the 15 Limited Series Production (LSP) LCH helicopters approved by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC).
“HAL has received the Letter of Intent from Army and Air Force. Once the order is given, it will deliver the remaining 12 helicopters of the LSP in the next financial year,” the source said.
Early this month, the Defence Ministry said in its annual report the contracts for the procurement of the LCH from HAL, additional Harop (P-IV) loitering drones from Israel and upgrade of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAV) in service are “likely to be signed in the first quarter of 2021”.
The Army variant of the Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), which has completed all tests and also demonstrated its high-altitude capability in hot and high weather conditions last September, is scheduled to receive its Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) at the Aero India. “The Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for 12 LUH from DAC is also in the pipeline,” the official said. HAL is also planning to develop a civilian version of the LUH.
With a range of helicopters in the smaller range, HAL is working on a 12-tonne Indian Multi-Role Helicopter (IMRH) as a replacement for the MI-17 helicopters in service. The Army and the Air Force are working out the Service Quality Requirements (SQR), the source said.
The LCH and the LUCH along with the weaponised Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) will be showcased inside the Indian pavilion at Aero India to showcase the range of indigenous development.
The LUH is a three-tonne helicopter positioned as replacement for the Cheetah and Chetak helicopters. According to HAL, it is capable of flying at 220 kmph, service ceiling of 6.5 km and a range of 350 km with 500 kg payload.