Hindustan Aeronautics Limited HAL is an Indian company that designs and produces the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), a multi-role assault helicopter. The first flight occurred on March 29, 2010, and production began in 2020. 

Features of LCH

LCH is a 5.5-ton twin-engine helicopter developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), a state-owned Indian military enterprise. It can carry air-to-air missiles, 20mm cannons, unguided rockets, cluster bombs, grenade launchers, and anti-radiation missiles.

 Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. completed the LCH’s 70mm rocket test in March this year, validating system integration, structural integrity, noise and vibration levels, system functionality, and safe rocket separation. The Indian Air Force plans to purchase 65 LCHs with a total procurement budget of $1.4 billion. 

The machine has two Safran turboshaft engines with a single power of 1000kw. The Indian Army plans to purchase 179 aircraft, including 65 for the Indian Army and 114 for the Air Force.

In the 1980s, to replace the “Cheetah” helicopter still in use, India decided to develop a 4-5 ton light helicopter. The Indian Air Force and Army required the aircraft to have the ability to transport, patrol, and fire support.

 While the Navy hoped that the aircraft could be converted into anti-submarine and anti-ship helicopters, considering India’s high temperature and plateau conditions. 

India requires the aircraft to have a more significant power load to improve the tactical and technical performance because these indicators exceed India’s own. 

Therefore, Hindustan Aeronautics Co., Ltd. signed an agreement with the then-West German MBB Company to assist in the development of the “Advanced Light Helicopter” (ALH) “Polaris” helicopter.

According to the agreement, the body, transmission system, and rotor system of ALH were developed and designed by MBB Company, while the engine selected Turbomeca’s TM333 turboshaft engine. ALH, like “Cheetah,” was created by Western companies.

Then the helicopter produced by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., ALH, began development in 1984, flew in 1992, and began production in 1997, but due to problems in production, delivery to the Indian Army did not start until 2000. 

India has equipped about 100 ALHs and is actively developing its various modifications, the most important of which is the “Light Combat Helicopter” (LCH).

Technical Parameters

MTOW : 5800 Kg

Max. speed : 268 Kmph

Range : 550 Km

Service Ceiling : 6.5 km

Oblique climb rate : 12 m/s

India has put combat weights on helicopters to adapt to plateau operations and strives to achieve electronic, informatization, and helicopter operations. 

To this end, India vigorously develops armed helicopters, especially plateau armed helicopters, to enhance the maneuverability of the Kashmir ground forces and achieve a decisive victory. 

Encouraged by the success of the ALH program, India decided not to import foreign armed helicopters but to develop its dedicated armed helicopters, which is very rare in the construction of Indian weapons and equipment.

In 2006, Hindustan Aeronautics Co., Ltd. announced that based on ALH, it would develop a particular armed helicopter, LCH. India first installed a photoelectric turret on the nose of the ALH helicopter and installed a 20mm caliber rotary turret under the aircraft.

Four anti-tank missiles and airborne aviation rocket pods can be installed on the side, laying the foundation for developing special armed helicopters in the future. 

It is also an internationally accepted method to develop special armed helicopters based on existing helicopters. For example, the AH-1 armed helicopters are developed based on Bell-206 so that the original parts can be used to the maximum extent, and the difficulty and time of development can be saved. 

LCH’s key characteristics include:

  • Crystal Cockpit
  • unstable bottom structure
  • Fixed tricycle with tail wheel landing gear that is crashworthy
  • Flat panels with canting for low radar cross-sections
  • System Integrated Dynamically
  • Anti-Resonance Isolation System with Hinge-less Main Rotor and Bearing-less Tail Rotor
  • System for Integrated Architecture and Display (IADS)
  • Counter Measuring Dispensing System with IR Suppressor (CMDS)
  • Helmet-mounted display system, EO pod, and EW suite
  • 20 mm Gun, Rocket, and Missiles, 70 mm
  • Air to Ground Missiles (AGM) and Air to Air Missiles (ATAM) (ATGM)