India's indigenously designed and developed attack chopper light combat helicopter (LCH) has successfully conducted its initial rocket firing trials.
During the trials, the 5.5t class LCH fired 70mm rockets from its prototype, TD-3 in weaponised configuration.
HAL CMD T. Suvarna Raju said: "The initial rocket firing trials have been carried out at Jaisalmer, establishing satisfactory integration of hardware and software, structural integrity and safe separation of rocket ammunition.
"Integration of weapons such as rockets, turret guns (20mm) and air-to-air missiles on LCH will further continue.
"These trials give us confidence for carrying out certification firing trials planned during Apr-May 2016."
The Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) developed LCH will participate in the Indian Air Force (IAF) Iron Fist 2016 exercise on 18 March.
The LCH TD-3 is integrated with electo-optical (EO) system, solid state digital video recording system (SSDVR) and 70mm rocket system in conjunction with an updated Glass Cockpit software to cater for rocket firing.
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.
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 last year, while the hot and the high-altitude trials were performed at Leh in September.
Image: The Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) fires 70mm rockets. Photo: courtesy of HAL.