Indian state-owned company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s (HAL) Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) has carried out air-to-air missile firing on a moving aerial target.
The company achieved the milestone during test-firing conducted in integrated test range at Chandipur in the state of Odisha.
Test pilots achieved a direct hit on the aerial target and destroyed it completely.
HAL chief managing director R Madhavan stated that the mission represents the first time in the country that a helicopter has performed air-to-air missile engagement.
Madhavan added: “None of the helicopters with the military services in the country has demonstrated such a capability. With this, LCH has successfully completed all weapon integration tests and is ready for operational induction.”
The LCH is also armed with a 20mm turret gun and 70mm rockets. The firing trials of these weapons have been completed last year.
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Designed and developed by HAL’s Rotary Wing Research & Design Centre (RWRDC), the helicopter can operate at altitudes as high as Siachen glacier located in the eastern Karakoram range in the Himalayas.
The helicopter has been developed to meet the operational needs of Indian Armed Forces.
The presence of helmet-mounted sight and forward-looking infrared sighting system enables LCH pilots to detect and destroy any ground-based or aerial target without the need to turn the helicopter.
The fire and forget missile is capable of tackling all types of aerial threats, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and microlight aircraft.
Furthermore, HAL noted that LCH can operate from dispersed locations and fly at ultra-low levels, offering protection to forces from all aerial threats.
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has given the approval for procurement of initial batch of 15 LCHs, including ten for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and a further five for Army.