HAL Light Combat Helicopter (LCH),Multi-Role Helicopter,Indian Armed Forces
The HAL Light Combat Helicopter(LCH) is a mutlirole combat helicopter being developed in India by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for use by The Indian Air-Force and the Indian Army.It is reported that 3 prototypes has been built up to date.The helicopter was well known for its attack role.
In 2006,HAL Announced its plan to design and build LCH after seeing the requirement of attack helicopter in Kargil war for such high altitude operations.Funding for designing and developing the LCH to meet the requirement for IAF and Indian Army were sanctioned later that year.It is basically a derivative of HAL Dhruv,which was a part of Indian Armed Forces.AS based on existing helicopter it is expected to have greatly reduce cost of LCH project which is estimated $56.8 million.The IAF is to acquire 65 LCHs and Indian Army to 114 LCHs.
HAL Light Combat Helicopter (LCH),Multi-Role Helicopter,Indian Armed Forces-Operations
LCH is intended for use in air defence against slow moving aerial targets, Counter Surface Force Operation (CSFO), destruction of enemy air defence operations, escort to special heliborne operations (SHBO), Counter-insurgency operations (COIN), offensive Employment in Urban Warfare, support of combat search and rescue operations (SAR) operations, anti-tank role,network-centric operations and scout duties.
Design and Features
The LCH is being designed to fit into an anti-infantry and anti-armour role and perform combat actions at high altitudes.The LCH is 15.8 m long ,4.7 m high and has rotor diameter of 13.3 m.It has a crew capacity of 2 members .It has maximum weight of 5.5 tonnes and has a service ceiling of 6500 metres.The LCH features a unique sleek and narrow fuselage with stealth profiling and armour protection .The stealth feature reduces its radar signature against enemy tracking systems.
The fuselage is thin in the front profile.The engine nacelles are contoured nicely along the sides of fuselage at a midships and power a low mounted,four blade main rotor mast and four-bladed tail rotor that is driven by shaft running inside the empennage.The tail rotor is set to face off the starboard side of the aircraft.The empennage is elevated in the design and requires a special rear landing gear leg for support when on the ground.The under carriage,as a whole,consists of the rear support leg and a pair of main tri-cycle crashworthy landing gear legs to either side of the forward fuselage.The non-retractable landing gears are heavenly swaggered for the rigors daily operations and to absorb a full-impact crash landing.The empennage also fits a single vertical tail fin and horizontal planes.The two short wing stubs are there for the munitions,external fuel tank and specialised equipment to be mounted on it when needed.
The LCH also integrated with crash worthy and self-stealing fuel tanks,armour protection,nuclear and low visibility features which make the LCH lethal,agile and survivable in both day and night combat operations.
Engine and performance
The LCH is powered by 2X Hal/Turbomeca Shakti turboshaft engines which are capable of delivering 1400 shaft horsepower each.This will let the LCH to fly at the maximum speed of 268 km/h with the cruising speed of 260 km/h.The LCH has maximum range of 700 km with the rate of climb is reported to be 12 m/sec.
Cockpit and Avionics
The LCH is to have a all glass cockpit with multifunction displays.The weapons specialist and pilot are seated in a stepped tandem arrangement cockpit with the gunner in front and the pilot at rear or unlike HAL Dhruv they sit one behind the another not side-by-side.The cockpit offers excellent views from all angels and supports some framing.Ahead of cockpit there is a short nose housing sensitive systems as well as chin-mounted cannon.
The advanced cockpit utilizes state of the art systems and functions intended to ease crew workload yet increase mission efficiency.It is also integrated with a target acquisition and designation system with FLIR,laser range finder and laser designator.Weapons will be aimed with a helmet mounted sight and there will be an electronic warfare suite with radar warning receiver, laser warning receiver and a missile approach warning system.
The LCH integrated with modern avionics suite which includes CCD camera,forward-looking infra-red imaging sensors and a laser range finder to facilitate target acquisition in all weather conditions,including at night. Data-Sharing will be integrated in its design and provide for real-time mission assessments and communication between other allied parties and other airborne platforms and ground stations to facilitate force multiplication.
HAL Light Combat Helicopter (LCH),Multi-Role Helicopter,Indian Armed Forces-Armaments
The LCH has mounted with 20 mm M621 Cannon gun on Nexter THL-20 turret with 4 hardpoints two under each wing.It also equipped with additional 4 x 70/80 mm rocket pods,4 x two-round MBDA Mistral air-to-air missiles,anti radiation,and 2X four-round Helina and LAHAT anti-tank missiles.The LCH also carry 4X 250 kg bombs including Gravity bombs,cluster bombs and grenade launchers.