Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has received a Request for Proposal (RFP) to manufacture 15 Limited Series Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) from the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Army today.
HAL would be the sole vendor for the tender as it is the only manufacturer of the LCH. Presently, four technology demonstrators are undergoing flight testing, a HAL release said.
The LCH is a 5.5-ton class, combat helicopter designed and developed by HAL. It is powered by two Shakti engines (a derivative of Turbomeca helicopter engine) and inherits many technical features of the Advanced Light Helicopter.
The features that are unique to LCH are sleek and narrow fuselage, tri-cycle crashworthy landing gear, crashworthy and self-sealing fuel tanks, armor protection and low visibility features which makes the LCH lethal, agile and survivable.
The helicopter would have day/night targeting systems for the crew including the Helmet pointed sight and Electro-optical pod consisting of CCD camera/FLIR/Laser Range Finder(LRF)/Laser Designator(LD). The LCH is fitted with Self Protection Suite consisting of Radar/Laser Missile warning systems and Countermeasures dispensing system.
LCH has the distinction of being the first attack helicopter to land in Forward Bases at Siachen, 5400 mts above sea level.
The helicopter participated in IAF's `Iron Fist 2016' exercise in March 2016 and displayed its rocket firing capabilities in its weaponised configuration. On August 26, 2017, the Defence Minister launched the production of LCH at Bengaluru and Initial operational clearance (IOC) documents of the basic version were handed over to HAL by Center for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC).
This comes close on the heels of HAL receiving RFP for supply of 83 LCAs (Light Combat Aircraft) just days ago.