HAL Light Combat Helicopter
The HAL LCH is designed to perform anti armour missions, close air support missions to friendly ground troops, and armored patrol for counter insurgency armed Escort and reconnaissance mission, The LCH is in desgin and development phase where three prototypes built testing and improvements,
The Kargil war gives s 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.
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 Prototype flown end of 2014 with improved characteristics like modified defensive suites weapon fittings, control elements and decreased weight, during the early periods th TD 1 and TD 2 ( Technical demonstrator ) carried out lots of trails like low flying High Flying, sea level weapon firing and lots more, the fourth Prototype is expected to be flown before this year, where HAL is in final works to roles out it.
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,
The LCH didn't perform night Trails, and guided weapon firing Trails, Now HAL testing the platform for better Aerodynamic characteristics and defensive suites like ECM and Infrared counter measure system,
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.
As per recent reports two more prototypes will be build for testing and evaluation and HAL plans to achieve the FOC by 2020 and mass produce the Helicopters by 2021,