Arun Jaitley to inaugurate made-in-India helicopters' production line
Defence Minister Arun Jaitley would reportedly inaugurate a production line of Light Combat Helicopters (LCHs) developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for Indian Air Force and Army on 26 August. The Defense Acquisition Committee gave its nod for the procurement of 15 LCHs at Rs. 2,911cr in Nov'16. The armed forces are procuring them under the Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured (IDDM) category. Know More!
The combat operations during the 1999 Kargil War highlighted the requirement of armored attack choppers for high-altitude operations. In 2006, the Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) announced its plans to design and develop the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH). They are multirole combat helicopters being developed for the Indian Army and Air Force. The helicopter's maiden flight was conducted in Mar'10.
In November last year, the government gave its in-principle approval for the purchase of military hardware developed under PM Narendra Modi's 'Make in India' initiative. The government would spend Rs. 67,000cr for procuring 15 LCHs, 83 Tejas Light Combat Aircraft, and 464 T-90 tanks.
The twin-engine LCH of the 5.8-ton class is designed by HAL's Rotary Wing R&D to meet the Indian defense forces' requirements. It has a narrow fuselage (aircraft's main body) with tandem seating configuration for pilot and co-pilot or weapon system operator. It is designed for carrying out "dedicated combat roles" like "Air Defense, anti-tank, scout and support combat search/rescue missions."
Equipment on the LCH includes a 20mm Turret gun, 70mm Rocket, air-to-air missile, and a helmet pointing system. It can carry out operational roles under extreme weather conditions and even at different altitudes, including hot deserts and cold Himalayan altitudes. LCH's capability to land and take-off from the Siachen Range with load, fuel, and weapons is reportedly better than other combat helicopters.
An HAL official said the LCH boasts state-of-art technologies like "integrated dynamic system, bearing-less Tail Rotor, anti-resonance vibration isolation system, crashworthy landing gear, smart glass cockpit, hinge less main rotor, Armour Protection and Stealth features from visual, aural, radar and IR signatures."
While at HAL, Defense and Finance Minister Jaitley would also visit the Hawk hangar; the state-run defense organization recently built its 100th Hawk jet trainer aircraft designated as the "Hawk-I (Hawk-India)." Apart from HAL, the minister would reportedly visit other defense PSUs like Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) likely to discuss their financial matters.