HAL’s Light Combat Helicopter (LCH): Defence minister Rajnath Singh Thursday inaugurated the HAL’s production line for light combat helicopter (LCH) in Bengaluru. The new assembly line will increase the capacity of HAL to manufacture 30 light combat helicopters in a year, said the company.
HAL has offered its light combat helicopter to its primary user – Indian Air Force that is looking to acquire a large number of helicopters as the LCH has already received initial operational clearance in August 2017 after extensive trials.
“LCH is completely ready for operational induction and Helicopter Complex is fully geared up for the production of LCH,” said R Madhavan, Chairman and Managing Director of HAL.
GVS Bhaskar, CEO of Helicopter Complex said: “The new production hangar will augment the LCH production capacity to reach a peak production of 30 helicopters per year.”
HAL has already submitted the techno commercial proposal for producing 15 Limited Series Production (LSP) helicopters to the government in March 2018 and is expecting the order.
The company estimates the IAF will require 160 combat helicopters in this class.
HAL’s Light Combat Helicopter
LCH is a 5.5 ton class combat helicopter designed and developed by HAL. It is powered by two Shakti engines and inherits many technical features of the Advanced Light Helicopter.
The features that are unique to LCH are sleek and narrow fuselage, tri-cycle crashworthy landing gear, crashworthy and self-sealing fuel tanks, armor protection and low visibility features which makes it agile and survivable.
“LCH has the distinction of being the first attack helicopter to land in Forward Bases at Siachen, 4700 meters above the sea level with 500kg load,” said the company.
As part of development, four LCH prototypes have been built and extensively flight tested with over 1620 cumulative flights (1239 flight hours).
LCH received Initial Operation Clearance (IOC) on August 26, 2017.