The Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Army have issued a request for proposal (RFP) to acquire 15 limited series light combat helicopters (LCHs) from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
The RFP follows Defence Acquisition Council’s (DAC) approval to procure 15 LCHs from HAL.
Production of LCH was started at Bengaluru, in the Indian state of Karnataka, on 26 August last year.
During that time, the Center for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC) also handed over initial operational clearance (IOC) documents of the basic version to HAL.
Flight testing is currently underway on four LCH technology demonstrators.
The twin-engine LCH is claimed to be the first attack helicopter to land in Forward Bases at Siachen, 5,400m above sea level.
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During IAF’s ‘Iron Fist 2016’ exercise, the helicopter demonstrated its rocket firing capabilities in weaponised configuration.
Weighing 5.5t, the combat helicopter features sleek and narrow fuselage, tri-cycle crashworthy landing gear, crashworthy and self-sealing fuel tanks, as well as armour protection.
The helicopter is equipped with 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 also has a self-protection suite consisting of radar/laser missile warning systems and countermeasures dispensing system.
It can be operated under extreme weather conditions at different altitudes from sea level, hot weather desert, cold weather, and Himalayan altitudes.