HAL LCH v/s. T129 ATAK :-Pakistan’s Counter to India’s Light Combat Helicopter (LCH)?
Pakistan’s latest procurement of 30 Turkish Aerospace Industries developed T129 ATAK helicopter gunships over Cheaper Chinese CAIC Z?10 helicopter gunships might have something to do with T129 abilities to perform adequately over the higher altitudes which AH?1F Cobra gunships and Mil Mi?35M Hind helicopter gunships presently in Pakistani service are ill-equipped to do so.
Indian Army till a few years ago suffered from the same problem, Mil Mi?25/35 could not be pressed into service during Kargil War and makeshift aerial Helicopter firepower provided by Mi-8/17 Helicopters with Rocket Pods were grossly inadequate and one Mi-17 while attacking a hilltop position was hit by a man-portable surface to air missile leading to death of the whole crew.
While a need for a higher altitude capable helicopter gunship was felt after the Kargil War by Indian Army, In 2006, HAL came up with a new project that now they develop a attack helicopter (LCH- Light Combat Helicopter developed by HAL). After the announcement of this project In 2010 HAL is able to prepare its first prototype which take its first take with in 2010.
No only this that India Army need this type of attack helicopter because of kargil war but also India Army want to replace it’s cheetah and chetak aging fleet and Indian govt does not want that theses helicopter were replaced by a foreign helicopter. Govt want that these helicopter must be replaced by domestically build Helicopter. LCH is based upon HAL Dhruv or we can say that its LCH is a derivative of HAL Dhruv.
LCH is 5.8 ton attack helicopter, build locally and powered by (made in India) two helicopter engines namely Shakti, these engines are also used to power HAL Dhruv. HAL LCH also feature most modern technologies like smart glass cockpit, anti-resonance vibration isolation system, Armour protection, crash worthy landing system, bearing less tail rotor, 20 mm turrent gun, 70 mm rocket, air to air missile, air to land missile, anti tank, helmet pointing system, and two seater attack helicopter.
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.
Turkish T129 Attack Helicopter
The T129 is a development of the Italian Agusta A129 Mangusta. Among other features, it includes Turkish sensors and weaponry and powerful engines to boost hot and high capabilities, something essential for Turkey’s operational environment
It is a twin-engine, tandem seat, multi-role, all-weather attack helicopter. The helicopter is designed for advanced attack and reconnaissance in hot and high environments and rough geography in both day and night conditions.
Equipped with up to 76 unguided rockets and 20 mm guns with 500 mm ammunition capacity for close air support missions, T129 helicopters also feature eight long-range anti-tank missiles (UMTAS), 16 CIRIT laser guided missiles, eight Stinger air-to-air missiles for multi-purpose tasks, cutting-edge electronic warfare and electro-optical systems.
Though potent, the AH−1F Cobra gunships presently in Pakistani service (that were acquired in the 1980s), are not only worn in the tooth but lack the capability to perform adequately over the higher altitudes of the Hindu Kush mountain range separating Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The T129 was tested extensively in Pakistan at the height of summer months in 2016, and a TAI official later told Defense News they had been very surprised by just how harsh the conditions were. Still, they were pleased with the T129’s performance, which also greatly impressed the Pakistan Army.
China previously sent three of its CAIC Z−10 helicopter gunships for trials in Pakistan, but it appears they failed to sufficiently impress and have been returned to China.
To be frank their is not much in the specification were you can differentiate between both of them….
But still the biggest advantage of LCH over TAI 129 will be–
a}It will be more affordable as compare to TAI 129…
b}LCH will have more chances of evolving as compare to TAI 129..as it has combine order of 179 as compare to 60 of TAI 129…Not only that even HAL Dhruv and Dhruv Rudra will also help in evolving alot of its systems……
c}T-129 uses American-British engine LHTEC CTS800-4N which gives the United States power to veto over any prospective export sales. This engine also makes T-129 very susceptible to US sanctions .
d}Its share alot of spare parts with Hal Dhruv…so it will be alot better for the countries who are operating Dhruv to go for Hal LCH as it will reduce the maintanace cost…..