LCH being built one-third of cost price of Apache

In a double assertion of its proficiency in building different sorts of helicopters, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) on Monday achieved two significant landmarks: the corporate unrolled its 300th Dhruv advanced light helicopter (ALH) for the military; and also conducted the inaugural ground run of the primary Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) it's series-producing for the Indian Air Force (IAF). 

While the Dhruv, with over 280,000 flying hours logged, is already the backbone of the IAF and army’s light helicopter fleet, the LCH may be a crucial new induction that might play a crucial role in any armed confrontation between Indian and Chinese troops on the Ladakh border, or within the looming militarization of the road of Actual Control (LAC). 

The LCH project was sanctioned after the 1999 Kargil War, when a dire need was felt for a platform that would provide dedicated fire support to army soldiers at high altitudes, who can carry only a limited amount of weaponry. The Ministry of Defence accordingly sanctioned the LCH project in October 2006. 

Fourteen years later, the LCH has become a reality. Business Standard learns that HAL has agreed to create the primary 15 “limited series production” LCH for about Rs 125 crore per helicopter – about one-third the value of every of the 28 AH-64E Apaches attack helicopters the govt is importing from The Boeing Company. 

True, the Apache may be a bigger, more heavily armed gunship with more advanced avionics and battle-tested night fighting capabilities. But, for those reasons, it's expensive and therefore the army and IAF are going to be making up the numbers with LCHs. 

The military remains to sign a contract for 15 LCHs, but HAL has decided to start out building the helicopters with its own funds. HAL’s board has sanctioned Rs 1,800 crore for this and production is well along.

A key attribute of the 5.8-tonne LCH is its ability to fly and fight at the altitudes the military is deployed at. In tests conducted within the Siachen Glacier sector, the LCH has demonstrated its capability to land and begin at altitudes of 5,000 metres with sufficient fuel and weaponry for combat missions against even higher targets. 

Driving this performance is that the LCH’s twin Shakti engines, especially designed by French firm, Safran, to deliver extra power at high altitudes. 

That creates the LCH a perfect platform for providing infantry soldiers fire support in 15,000-16,000 feet-high contested areas like Depsang, Galwan and therefore the heights north and south of the Pangong Tso, where Indian soldiers face off against Chinese intruders. 

The military has already projected to HAL an eventual requirement of 65 LCH for the IAF and 97 for the military

For such alittle , light helicopter, the LCH may be a formidable fighting machine. Its two pilots, who are seated one behind the opposite during a slim tandem cockpit, can choose from a menu of weapons that they fire employing a helmet pointing system that lets a pilot aim at a target just by watching it. 

The LCH’s weapons options include a nose-mounted, 20-millimetre turret gun; or 70-millimetre rockets; or air-to-air missiles that it carries on stub wings. The LCH is that the first helicopter to fireside air-to-air missiles against a flying target. 

The LCH is additionally designed to hold anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) which will knock out enemy tanks at ranges of up to seven kilometres. 

Allowing it to survive on a battlefield where it'll be a prized target, the LCH is protected by a variety of devices. The pilots are shielded against forest fire by armoured panels round the cockpit and by a bulletproof windshield. The LCH has self-sealing fuel tanks that automatically seal up bullet holes with a rubber compound. it's damage-tolerant rotor blades and a main gearbox which will run half-hour even after a bullet hit drains out all its oil. 

The LCH is additionally fitted with an EW (EW) system that detects enemy missiles; then scatters flares and chaff as decoys to lure the incoming missile faraway from the helicopter.

Post a Comment