World’s lightest ‘Made in India’ helicopters
In view of the ongoing tensions between India and China along the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has decided to deploy two Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) for operations at high altitude. These helicopters designed and developed by the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to meet the unique demands of the Indian Armed forces will be supporting the IAF missions at short notice. This is the lightest helicopter in the world and reflects the role HAL plays in Atma Nirbhar Bharat. According to HAL, the LCH in that operation had successfully demonstrated its quick deployment ability to forward locations under extreme temperatures.
- It has been designed and developed by Rotary Wing Research & Design Centre (RWRDC) of HAL.
- This is considered to be a potent platform because of its state of the systems.
- It has highly accurate weapons which have the capability to hit the target of any type in day/night.
- Besides operating in different altitudes, this helicopter has the ability to operate in the complete ‘Area of Responsibility’ (AOR).
- Under varied conditions and high altitudes the helicopter can carry adequate weapon load. Because of these capabilities it is considered to be most suitable for high altitude operations.
What do the Indian Armed Forces need?
- Combined –the IAF and the Indian Army have a requirement of around 160 LCHs.
- Approval has already been given by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) for the proposal of the initial batch of 15 LCHs.
- It may be recalled that a Request for Proposal (RFP) for 15 Limited Series Production (LSP) helicopters (10 for IAF and 5 for Army) had been issued by the IAF.
- The state-owned company HAL has already submitted its response to that RFP.
- So far, the technical evaluation and the price negotiations have been concluded.
- While the order for the same is expected, at its facility in Bengaluru, the HAL, according to their official release have already started the production of LSPs in the anticipation of orders.
Which other weapons are on LCH?
- It comes equipped with Helmet mounted sight and a forward-looking infrared sighting system. What does it mean? It means that the LCH pilots will be able to detect and destroy any target in the air or on the ground.
- The fire and forget missile has been found to be effective against all types of aerial threat. And this includes the UAVs and microlight aircraft.
- According to HAL, this is the only helicopter in the world which can operate at altitudes which are as high as Siachen Glacier (in the Karakoram mountain range of the Himalayas).