India’s first indigenously developed light combat helicopter (LCH) made its maiden flight on 23 May 2010.

Developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) at a cost of INR3.7bn ($80.3m), the LCH features a narrow fuselage and a tandem seat for the pilot and co-pilot.

Designed for low detection, it is equipped with crashworthy landing gear for better survivability, hingeless rotors and Shakti engines.

A chin-mounted cannon and a helmet-mounted sighting system are equipped on the LCH enabling pilots to look and fire at targets around the aircraft.

It also includes an advanced sensor suite consisting of a CCD camera, forward-facing infrared imaging technology and laser range finder for better target acquisition in all weather conditions.

The LCH will be used to target slow-moving aerial targets, destroy enemy air defence operations, escort special heliborne operations; and support combat search and rescue operations, and anti-tank role and scout duties.