The Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to formally induct the indigenous light combat helicopter (LCH) at the Jodhpur air force station on October 3.
What is Light Combat Helicopter (LCH)?
- The HAL Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) is an Indian multi-role attack helicopter designed and manufactured by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
- The LCH has been ordered by the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Army. Its flight ceiling is the highest among all attack helicopters.
- LCH figures on the government’s ‘positive indigenisation list’ that seeks to ban the import of different types of weapons, systems and ammunition over the next five to seven years to boost self-reliance in defence.
- In the last two years, the government has imposed a ban on the import of 310 defence items. Production of LCH will reduce India’s dependence on imported combat helicopters.
- This helicopter is equipped with requisite agility, maneuverability, extended range, high altitude performance, and around-the-clock, all-weather combat capability to perform the roles of Combat Search and Rescue, Destruction of Enemy Air Defence, and Counter Insurgency operations.
- Several key aviation technologies like Glass Cockpit and composite airframe structures have been indigenised. The future Series Production version will consist of further modern & indigenous systems.
- Weight: 2,250 kg
- Top speed: 268 km/h
- Range: 550 km
- Engine type: Twin Shakti Engine
- Manufacturer: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited
IAF First LCH Squadron At AFS Jodhpur
- The Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to formally induct the indigenous light combat helicopter (LCH) at the Jodhpur air force station on October 3.
- With the new platform capable of targeting enemy air defences, slow-moving aircraft, high-altitude bunkers as well as carrying out counter-insurgency operations.
CCS Approval For 15 Light Combat Helicopter
- India’s Cabinet Committee on Security, headed by PM Narendra Modi, in March cleared the purchase of 15 such helicopters for the air force and the army from HAL at a cost of ₹3,887 crores.
- Of the initial 15 limited series production helicopters approved, 10 are for the IAF and 5 for the army. The chopper can land and take off from an altitude of 5,000 metre with weapons and fuel.
Attack Helicopters Operated By IAF
- The IAF operates the older Russian Mi-25 and Mi-35 attack helicopters, of which one squadron has been phased out following the induction of 22 Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters.
Indian Army & Its LCH Squadron
- The Army had already raised its first LCH squadron on June 1, 2022, in Bengaluru. The unit will move to Eastern Command along the Line of Actual Control (LCH) on completion of the raising next year.
- This helicopter is equipped with requisite agility, maneuverability, extended range, high altitude performance and around-the-clock, all-weather combat capability to perform roles of Combat Search and Rescue, Destruction of Enemy Air Defence, Counter Insurgency operations.
IAF LCH Future Orders
- LCH has an indigenous content of 45% by value and it will progressively increase to more than 55% for the series production version.
- HAL expects follow-on orders as IAF, and army are projected to have a combined requirement of 160 LCHs.
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