Two HAL produced Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) have been deployed in Ladakh in support of Indian Air Force (IAF) missions “at short notice.”
The helicopter took off from a high altitude location to a forward area for a simulated attack on a high altitude target. This was followed by a landing at one of the most treacherous helipads in the region. The LCH successfully demonstrated its quick deployment prowess to forward locations at extreme temperatures, a HAL release said.
Interestingly, the LCH helicopters are yet to be formally inducted into the IAF. Deployments by the IAF and the Indian Army have intensified following the Galwan clash between Chinese and Indian troops in June.
“In view of the prevailing situation on the border, HAL’s LCH has been deployed for operations at high altitude (Leh sector) to support IAF operations. The Vice Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Harjit Singh Arora took part in one such operation with HAL test pilot Subash John,” the release said.
The LCH’s weapons are capable of hitting any type of target by day or night. It can carry adequate weapon load at high altitudes under varied conditions, the release added.
The IAF and the Indian Army together need around 160 LCHs. The Defence acquisition Council has approved a proposal to manufacture and induct an initial batch of 15 LCHs. HAL has already responded to an IAF request for proposal for 15 LCH choppers in limited series production (LSP). Technical evaluation and price negotiation has been concluded and the order is expected shortly.
However, HAL has already launched the manufacture of LSP format LCH choppers at its Bangalore facility.
The IAF has deployed its Apache helicopters in the Ladakh region following the Galwan clash with Chinese troops in which 18 Indian soldiers died. Combat helicopters are among the preferred weapons platforms in the mountainous regions where surface transport can be slow.