India’s combat helicopter takes off

While not the prettiest helicopter ever, the LCH is an achievement by HAL. (Image © HAL)
While not the prettiest helicopter ever, the LCH is an achievement by HAL. (Image © HAL)

In India, the third Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) Technology Demonstrator successfully took to the skies on Wednesday 12 November. Escorted by a Dhruv helicopter, the entire flight was flawless, says its manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The flight lasted 20 minutes.

According to HAL, the locally developed and produced helicopter will be an effective weapon platform to deliver precision strikes at high altitude and will meet the requirements of the Indian Air Force. “We are making all efforts to achieve Initial Operation Clearance by September next year”, says Dr. R.K. Tyagi, chairman of HAL.

The very first Indian LCH was first flown on 29 March 2010, with the second following on 28 June 2011. These two Technology Demonstrators now have flown a total of 285 hours in 388 flights. With the third, the program will really take off.

HAL has now started preparations for building two more helicopters, which will be used to accelerate flight testing, plus indigenous development of avionics and display systems. HAL plans to be less independent on foreign suppliers in the future. Also, the Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS) will be tested.

Source: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited