HAL LCH v/s. Rudra :- Which is better 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 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.
The HAL Rudra also known as ALH-WSI is an armed version of HAL Dhruv. Rudra is equipped with Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) and Thermal Imaging Sights Interface, a 20 mm turret gun, 70 mm rocket pods, anti-tank guided missiles and air-to-air missiles.
The HAL Rudra helicopter can be deployed in wide range of missions, including reconnaissance, troop transport, anti-tank warfare and close air support.
While the Rudra basically is an armed helicopter/ gunship, the LCH is being developed as a dedicated attack helicopter, capable of operating at high altitudes – it will have the same weapon package as the Rudra.
Here are some of the features which HAL LCH possess not possessed by Rudra :
- Tandem Seating with flat facets on fuselage panels
- Usage of Radar Absorbing Material to reduce the Radar Cross Section of LCH
- Crashworthy Structure and Landing Gear to survive crashes with increased survivability
- Pressurized Cockpit Cabin with NBC ( Nuclear , Biological and Chemical ) Filters
- Armour Panels which can resist upto Russian 12.7mm rounds including other small arms fire and bursts
- InfraRed Engine Suppressors and a Digital Video Recording System ( DVRS )
- Flat cockpit transparencies
- Increased use of composites than Rudra airframe which makes the airframe of LCH both lighter and sturdy at the same times
HAL LCH and Rudra has many features in common like Anti Resonance Isolation System ( ARIS ) System , VHF/UHF Communications Sets , Fire Detection Systems , Flight Data Recorders and more including the Electronic Warfare Suite which has been derived from Rudra ( though with some changes ) and the weapon package including HELINA Missile , MISTRAL Air-to-Air Missile , M621 Cannon and 70mm FZ-231 Rockets.
LCH also supports some stealth features like Canted flat panels for low Radar Cross Section. The excessive use of composite materials makes the airframe both light and sturdy the basic philosophy LCH wanted to achieve as a light attack helicopter. The LCH design exhibits a sleek exterior. The weapons specialist and pilot are seated in a stepped tandem arrangement cockpit with the gunner in front and the pilot at the rear.
LCH design is Stealthier than Apache and Mi-28 and is superior to other modern attack chopper like Chinese ZW 19.The capability of the airframe is well understood by the fact that HAL LCH ( 5800 kg ) maximum-take off weight is more than double of its empty weight ( 2250 kg )
When it comes to who is better , then HAL LCH has to be given an edge since it is a dedicated attack helicopter while Rudra is a Weapon Systems Integrated Variant or better say an armed variant of ALH Dhruv hence is more suited for Armed Scouting Roles in a secured environment while LCH is more suited for high-risk operations in hostile airspace which includes Close-Air Support Missions , High-Altitude Warfare and Anti-Armor Missions. Rudra can be deployed in a low threat environment and can be used in air assault roles along with CASEVAC and MEDEVAC roles.
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
HAL LCH has more maneuverability though in terms of role versatility Rudra can trump out LCH in many roles sine LCH is developed for a dedicated role. Rudra can also be used in Special Forces Missions where it retains its attack capabilities though sacrificing its armor for passenger cabin.