LCH set for firing trials soon

The Light Combat Helicopter will participate in the IAF’s Iron Fist exercise that starts on March 18— PHOTO: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT  

The Light Combat Helicopter looks set for its combat-qualifying weapons trials in April or May after its first armed version gave positive results in firing 70-mm rockets, according to its developer Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.

The third prototype, TD-3, entered the weapon trials phase in late February when it released rockets in a satisfactory performance during tests held in Jaisalmer, HAL said.

HAL confident

“These trials give us confidence for carrying out certification firing trials planned during April-May,” said HAL Chairman & Managing Director T. Suvarna Raju. The aircraft would be further readied for tests with other rockets, 20-mm turret guns and air-to-air missiles.

The LCH will participate in the IAF’s Iron Fist 2016 exercise which starts on March 18.

Ahead of the weapons test, TD-3 was fitted with the electro-optical system, solid state digital video recording system and the 70-mm rocket system along with updated glass cockpit software. Last year, it completed cold weather, hot weather tests and hot and high-altitude tests.

The 5.5-tonne LCH is derived from the indigenous multipurpose Advanced Light Helicopter and is being developed for lethal combat operations. The first prototype had its first flight in March 2010, the second in June 2011 and the third in June 2014. TD-4 flew for the first time in December 2015.