HAL-built light combat helicopter completes air-to-air weapon trials
The public sector entity Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) designed and developed light combat helicopter (LCH) has successfully carried out air-to-air missile firing on a moving aerial target.
"This is the first time in the country that a helicopter has carried out air-to-air missile engagement. None of the helicopters with the military services in the country has demonstrated such a capability. With this, LCH has successfully completed all weapon integration tests and is ready for operational induction," HAL chief R Madhavan said.
"During the tests conducted at integrated test range, Chandipur Odisha recently, Wg Cdr Subash P John, VM (Retd), test pilot, Col Ranjit Chitale, (Retd), Flight Test Engineer from HAL and Gp Capt Rajeev Dubey, test pilot from the IAF, executed a flawless mission and achieved a direct hit on the aerial target, destroying it completely," said HAL spokesperson Gopal Sutar in a press release.
Other weapons on the LCH include a 20mm Turret gun and 70 mm Rockets, the firing trials of which have already been completed last year. LCH is the only attack helicopter in the world capable of operating at altitudes as high as Siachen glacier, the HAL claimed.
Designed and developed by Rotary Wing Research & Design Centre (RWRDC) of HAL in response to the operational needs of the IAF, its capabilities far exceed that of contemporary attack helicopters of its class.
Equipped with Helmet mounted sight and a forward-looking infrared sighting system, LCH pilots can now detect and destroy any target on the ground or in the air.
Using these sights, pilots can now launch a missile onto any target without having to turn the helicopter. The fire and forget missile is effective against all types of aerial threat including UAVs and microlight aircraft.
Capable of operating from dispersed locations and flying at ultra-low levels, LCH can now effectively provide a protective umbrella from all aerial threats. Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has accorded approval for procurement of initial batch of 15 LCHs, 10 for IAF and 5 for the Army.