India-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has commenced the production of a 5.8t light combat helicopter (LCH) for the Indian military.

The twin engine LCH has been designed with narrow fuselage and tandem configuration for the pilot and co-pilot/weapon system operators.

The helicopter is equipped with an indigenously developed integrated dynamic system, bearingless tail rotor, and anti-resonance vibration isolation system. It also includes crashworthy landing gear, a smart glass cockpit, and hingeless main rotor.

Armed with a 20mm turret gun, 70mm rocket, air-to-air missile, EO-Pod, and helmet pointing system, the LCH can be operated under extreme weather conditions at different altitudes from sea level, hot weather desert, cold weather, and Himalayan altitudes.

The LCH has demonstrated its capability to land and take off from Siachen Range with considerable load, fuel and weapons, HAL stated.

HAL’s Rotary Wing R&D Centre designed the LCH and the basic version has been cleared by Center for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC).

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“The LCH has demonstrated its capability to land and take off from Siachen Range with considerable load, fuel and weapons.”

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has approved the procurement of 15 LCHs from HAL.

HAL also launched a programme to upgrade Hawk-i from a trainer aircraft into a combat-ready platform.

The Hawk-i is capable of delivering precision munitions, including air-to-ground and close combat weapons, self-defence capabilities through electronic warfare (EW) systems, digital map generator, and operational reliability, HAL stated.

The aircraft’s new dual hot standby mission computer avionics architecture is supported by indigenous high-accuracy and high-altitude radio altimeter, IFF MKXII, data transfer system, CMDS, and RWR.

Image: Indian Defence Minister launches production of HAL designed LCH and dedicates Hawk-i to the nation. Photo: courtesy of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.