Indigenous attack helicopter crosses milestone

A Light Combat Helicopter during an exercise at Pokran range. File photo   | Photo Credit: V.V. Krishnan

The indigenously developed Light Combat Helicopter has crossed a milestone, successfully firing an air-to-air missile at a moving target, and it is now ready for induction, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, which is developing the helicopter, said on Thursday.

“This is the first time in the country that a helicopter has carried out an air-to-air missile engagement. None of the helicopters in the military services in the country has demonstrated such a capability. The LCH has successfully completed all weapon integration tests and is ready for operational induction,” R. Madhavan, CMD, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, said in a statement.

During the tests conducted recently at the integrated test range at Chandipur, Odisha, the helicopter scored a direct hit on an aerial target and destroyed it. The LCH is the only attack helicopter in the world capable of operating at altitudes as high as Siachen Glacier.

Equipped with the helmet-mounted sight and forward looking infra-red sighting system, LCH pilots can detect and destroy any target on ground, or in the air. Using these systems, pilots can launch a missile onto any target without having to turn the helicopter. “The fire-and-forget missile is effective against all types of aerial threat, including unmanned aerial vehicles and microlight aircraft,” it said.

The other weapons on the 5.8-tonne LCH include a 20-mm turret gun and 70-mm rockets, the firing trials of which were completed last year.

The Defence Acquisition Council has approved the procurement of an initial batch of 15 LCHs — 10 are for the Indian Air Force and five for the Army. The IAF has sought 65 LCHs and the Army 114.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 2:17:56 AM |

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