India’s Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) has successfully completed performance trials of its light combat helicopter (LCH), paving the way for finalisation of basic configuration.

The new indigenously designed and developed twin-engine LCH is a dedicated combat helicopter of 5.8t class intended for Indian Defence Forces.

HAL CMD T. Suvarana Raju said: "LCH is the only attack helicopter which can operate above 10000 to 12000ft altitude with considerable load of armament."

HAL is expected to receive clearance from the centre for military airworthiness and certification (CEMILAC) after the completion of remaining flight trials.

HAL will be able to start production of LCH after receiving operational clearance, the company stated.

"LCH is the only attack helicopter which can operate above 10000 to 12000ft altitude with considerable load of armament."

Powered by two Shakti engines, the LCH offers several stealth features including reduced visual, aural, radar and infra-red signatures and crashworthy landing gear, armour protection for enhanced survivability.

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It will be capable of conducting combat roles such as air defence, anti-tank, scout and support combat and search-and-rescue missions.

To date, LCH has completed performance flight trials that included tests at extreme environment conditions such as sea level at Chennai and cold weather at Leh, a high-desert city in the Himalayas.

In addition, HAL completed the hot weather flight trials of LCH at Jodhpur in June, while the hot and the high-altitude trials were performed at Leh in September.

Image: India’s Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar visits HAL’s helicopter complex. Photo: courtesy of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.