The Indian Air Force (IAF) is to purchase 64 light combat helicopters (LCHs) worth $1.4bn from Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL).

The two-engine, 5.5t LCH has undergone several test flights, and will be used to destroy UAVs, slow-moving aircraft, enemy air defences, tanks and escort troop-carrying helicopters.

The LCH will be equipped with air-to-air missiles, 20mm guns, unguided rockets and cluster bombs, grenade launchers and anti-radiation missiles.

The helicopter will also be armed with an Helina missile with an extended range of 7km, missile warning systems, anti-missile countermeasures and night-attack-capable cockpit displays.

Deliveries are scheduled to take place by 2013-2014, according to Defense News.

The IAF is operating at 74% of its helicopter requirements, since most of its helicopter fleet has reached its life expectancy.

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