M A I N   N E W S

LCH to take first test flight by month-end
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 12
India’s first indigenously made Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) will be making its maiden flight soon, most likely by the end of this month.

Managing Director of the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s helicopter complex R Srinavasan today said development of the LCH was well on its way and the attack helicopter would have its initial flight very soon. “The LCH has successfully completed its initial ground test runs,” he told a seminar on helicopters, Helipower India, organised by the Rotary Wing Society of India

The twin-engine LCH is a pure attack helicopter made by the design experience gained from the Dhruv Advance Light Helicopter developed by the HAL. Currently around 100 Dhruv helicopters are being used by the Indian armed forces and paramilitary forces like the Coast Guard and the BSF, civil operators like Pawan Hans and the ONGC, and state governments like Jharkhand. Dhruv is also being used by foreign countries like Ecuador, Nepal, Mauritius and Male.

Development time for the LCH was reduced because most of its components had been already checked out on Dhruv. HAL officials say the attack helicopter will have several advance systems, which are available on very few helicopters worldwide, and it had been developed keeping in mind the Indian terrain and operating conditions.

At present the only attack helicopters available with the IAF are Russian-made Mi-25 and Mi-35, which are not optimised for operations at high altitude. Experts say if during Kargil war, which was fought at very high altitude, the LCH was operational the scenario would have been very different.

The Shakti engine being used in the LCH has been jointly developed by the HAL and Turbomeca of France with primary focus on high altitude operation in Himalayas. Besides operations at very high altitudes, it is expected to meet operational requirements like air support, anti-infantry and anti-armour roles.

Best advance systems have been fitted on the helicopter, procured from different vendors worldwide that will ensure cutting edge technology to our defence operators, HAL officials say.

The HAL has also carried out modifications on some variants of its Dhruv chopper for anti-Naxalite operations with suggestions from paramilitary forces involved in anti-Naxal operations.

The two-day conference is being attended by civil and military helicopter pilots and professionals, besides representatives of chopper producing firms and officials of civil aviation and defence ministries.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |