On Friday morning the Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, undertook his maiden flight in Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) in Bengaluru. The aircraft which has been indigenously designed and developed by state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), was airborne for almost an hour after taking off at around 11.45 hours. The Air Chief was accompanied by the Deputy Chief Test Pilot, Wg Cdr (Retd) S P John of HAL.
During the sortie, the Air Chief checked out the critical flying characteristics of the helicopter and also checked the status of the sensors installed already.
Attributing the success of the LCH to the D&D efforts and the flight test team, the Air Chief termed the helicopter as a potent platform. And expressed hope that the HAL will focus on productionisation at a fast pace.
To meet all the requirements of the Air Force, the HAL is all ready for the productionisation of the LCH, the CMD of HAL R Madhavan, assured the Air Chief.
More about the LCH
It is a 5.5-tonne class combat helicopter.
It is powered by two Shakti engines.
It has inherited many technical features of the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH).
It is the first attack helicopter Made in India to land in Forward Bases.
It landed first at Siachen, which is almost 4,700 mts above sea level, with a load of 500 kg.
As has been reported by Financial Express Online earlier, two LCH have already been deployed for operations in Leh sector to support the IAF missions, due to the ongoing standoff between India and China.
It has the capability of being quickly deployed in extreme temperatures and is a potent platform.
It has highly accurate weapons and state-of-the-art systems which have the capability of the target day/night.
Can operate in the complete Area of Responsibility (AOR) and altitudes.
Both the Indian Army and the IAF together need around 160 LCHs.
The DAC has already given its approval for the initial batch of 15 LCHs.
The HAL has launched the production of Limited Series Production (LSP) in anticipation of orders.
RFP has been issued by IAF for 15 LSPs (10 for IAF and 5 for Army).