HAL LCH:- India’s indigenously built multi role Light Combat Helicopter
The HAL Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) is a multirole combat helicopter being developed in India by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for use by the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army.
The LCH is a twin-engine helicopter of 5.8-ton class designed and developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to meet the requirements of Indian defence forces. LCH was proposed to meet IAF’s requirement of a dedicated light helicopter for combat operations.
HAL claims that the LCH is designed to carry out dedicated combat roles such as Air Defence, anti-tank, scout and support combat search/rescue missions. It incorporates a number of stealth features such as reduced visual, aural, radar and infra-red signatures and crashworthy landing gear, armour protection for better survivability. The helicopter is powered by two Shakti engines.
It also has got Splinter Camoflauge . “Splinter” pattern was also seen on Russia’s 5th generation Su-57 fighter aircraft Prototypes . Splinter camouflaged paint scheme was made famous by Russians on their aircrafts which has ability to blend aircraft in Weather conditions depending on paint colours used for particular weather conditions or Natural geographical surroundings of operations. “Splinter” pattern have smaller, sharp-edged patches and can use two or three color camouflage to make them visually difficult to spot in air . Splinter camouflaged paint scheme is now also catching up with Western aircraft types which are also moving away from Single paint schemes lately .
There are plans to produce LCH in large numbers to meet the operational requirements.
During the 1999 Kargil War, operations of Indian Air Force were hampered as the only combat helicopter, the Mi-35, couldn’t operate at extremely high altitudes where most of the conflict was concentrated.
The inability of the MI-25/MI-35 and even the armed MI-17 to operate at these heights resulted in a critical weapon system being left out of the battle, for which India paid a heavy price in terms of casualties. Accordingly, the government approved the development of the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) by the state owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in 2006.
The Kargil war gives us much lessons to the IAF to conduct not only Armed Combat air patrol, but mean time support the Friendly Troops who is fighting against the enemy in tough conditions. So IAF put an requirement of Combat Helicopters building in India. The HAL taken the decision to make the dream into reality by flying first LCH prototype by 2010, within three years of program gets sanctioned by the Government.
By capacity, LCH is multirole as LCH is expected to play a major role in air defence against slow moving aerial targets, destruction of enemy air defence operations, escort to special heliborne operations, support of combat search and rescue operations, anti-tank role and scout duties. According to broucher , LCH is able to execute air defence role operations against slow moving targets like UAVs , DEAD ops along with Escort to Special Heliborne Operations and offensive employment in Urban Warfare and Counter-Surface Force Operations and COIN operations along with support of combat SAR operations. It can take off from an altitude of 10,000 feet, operate weapons at 16,300 feet, and engage targets like UAVs that are flying at altitudes of up to 21,300 feet.
In the anarchy of the modern battlefield, the attack helicopter is the ultimate predator. Operating from a forward base — usually a small square of synthetic material tacked down onto a clearing in the fields — the attack helicopter flies missions against enemy tanks, which are spotted by friendly scout helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Flying barely 20 feet above the ground, the attack helicopters close in with the enemy, often with rifle and machine-gun bullets spattering against their armoured bodies. Then popping up from behind a tree line, they fire missiles and rockets to destroy their targets; meanwhile sophisticated onboard electronics confuse the enemy’s radars for the couple of minutes it takes to finish the job. Then it’s back to the base to refuel and rearm, patch up the bullet holes, and leave for another mission against another target. LCH is well a cut above than its traditional rivals in such roles.
LCH will not only help us in war scenario in low altitudes regions like Thar, Rajasthan but also help us in defeating our enemy in Siachen glacier. In past we have to send our army in Siachen without any direct fire support from heavy weapons. All they had was what they could carry on their backs to fight enemy but deployment of LCH in this region will help our army to defeat our enemy in high altitude region. Last week, for the first time ever, an attack helicopter landed at a forward picquet in Siachen. The indigenous Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), designed and built by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), performed several such landings as a part of its “hot and high” trials in Ladakh.
As per initial plans more than 200 combat helicopters procured 65% of them falls in the Army Aviation wing balance for Indian Air force, the first prototype flown in 2010 and performed 20 minutes of flight operations near HAL area. the next prototype unveiled in Aero india 2011, just a Year after first flight, the second Prototype with plenty of modifications and comes with weapons system like the 20mm Nexter cannon, where the first prototype is just the helicopter with attack helicopters characteristics,
The third LCH helicopter recently completed hot and high altitude trials at Leh in Jammu and Kashmir. The LCH prototypes have been undergoing extensive weapons trials beginning in July, as I reported elsewhere.
A LCH prototype also successfully fired 70 millimeter rockets during the 2016 iteration of the IAF’s Iron Fist military exercise held in March in the Thar Desert in Pokhran, Rajasthan in northwestern India. “The flight trials were successful with respect to system integration, structural integrity, noise and vibration, functionality of system and safe separation of rockets,” Indian Minister of State for Defense Rao Inderjit Singh told the Indian Parliament in May, in reference to the helicopter’s performance during Iron Fist.
Compared to other Light combat Helicopter platforms like Chinese Z 10 and Euro copter Tiger , the LCH designed for Indian conditions, to conduct operations in High Altitudes like Leh and low altitudes like Thar, Rajastan also it can perform missions in Minus zero degree Ladakh’s to hot Thar conditions.
Meanwhile the LCH stand behind other counterparts, where LCH still in design and developments stages, as per reports if all the parameters achieved with in 2017, the LCH can out perform Chinese and Pakistani Z 10 and can challenge the European Tiger Helicopter,
LCH already been evaluated with the defensive system earlier, and being in tests with Target acquisition systems and Weapon control system, LCH comes with twin back by back seat configuration for better performance same like other modern combat helicopters, the Pilot can Handle the Helicopters movements and controls the primary cannon, where the weapons officer helps the pilot to navigate and help to choose the correct weapon system, communicating with the ground bases, controls nearby Unmanned aircrafts and more,
The LCH’s primary Target acquisition system is the FLIR ( Forward Looking Infrared ) pod, who can lock ground and air targets, analyses the threats and engage the proper weapon, also the laser designator and Range finder allows the Helicopter to classify the threat levels and portions and it’s moving speed. those are all synchronized with the Pilots Helmet, allows him to react faster.
The main fire arm of the LCH is the Nexter 20 mm cannon it can hold some 800 rounds of ammunition, with an effective range of 2500 feet, also it comes with four hard points two in each wing to carry unguided Rockets and guided Air to air or anti armour missiles, The LCH designed to carry set of two Mistral Air to air missiles for Air operations to shoot down enemy helicopters Turbo prop special mission Transports and low flying UAV’s, otherwise it can carry LAHAT Anti Tank or Helina Anti Tank missiles for Anti armour and ground operations, also the LCH can use combination of all the above missiles and Rocket pods.. SAAB South Africa is providing the LCH’s electronic warfare suite.
The Indian Army’s Army Aviation Corps (AAC) has expressed its intention of acquiring 114 helicopters and the IAF 65. However, no contract has been signed so far. “It has to turn into a contract between the Services and HAL,” according to Raju.
The LCH, which made its maiden flight in May 2010, has been specifically developed in response to the lack of an attack helicopter capable of performing high-altitude operations during the 1999 Kargil War. Consequently, the LCH, a derivative of the HAL Dhruv helicopter, has been primarily designed for high-altitude warfare – HAL and French engine-maker, Turbomeca jointly designed a special engine optimized for extreme altitudes – and has an operational ceiling limit of 6,000–6,500 meters (19,700–21,300 feet).
The AAC helicopter fleet is only at 70 percent of its authorized strengths, according to the Indian Ministry of Defense.