India’s LCH successfully carries out air-to-air missile firing on moving target

The LCH is designed and developed by the RWRDC of HAL to address the operational needs of India's armed forces; its capabilities far exceed that of contemporary attack helicopters of its class

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Bengaluru: India’s indigenously designed and developed Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) has successfully carried out air-to-air missile firing on a moving aerial target, state-run aerospace behemoth HAL Thursday said.

Calling it a “unique milestone”, the city-headquartered Hindustan Aeronautics Limited said the tests were conducted from an integrated test range at Chandipur in Odisha recently.

The LCH is designed and developed by Rotary Wing Research & Design Centre (RWRDC) of HAL to address the operational needs of India’s armed forces. Its capabilities far exceed that of contemporary attack helicopters of its class.

HAL CMD R Madhavan said this was the first time in the country that a helicopter had carried out air to air missile engagement.

Wg Cdr Subash P John, VM (Retd), test pilot, Col Ranjit Chitale, (Retd), Flight Test Engineer from HAL and Gp Capt Rajeev Dubey, a test pilot from IAF executed a flawless mission and achieved a direct hit on the aerial target, destroying it completely, a HAL release said.

Madhavan said, “None of the helicopters with the military services in the country has demonstrated such a capability. With this, LCH has successfully completed all weapon integration tests and is ready for operational induction.”

Other weapons on LCH include a 20 mm turret gun and 70 mm rockets, the firing trials of which have already been completed last year, HAL said.

The LCH is the only attack helicopter in the world capable of operating at altitudes as high as the location of Siachen glacier, it said.

Equipped with helmet mounted sight and a forward-looking infrared sighting system, LCH pilots can now detect and destroy any target on the ground or in the air, HAL said.

Noting that using these sights, pilots can now launch a missile onto any target without having to turn the helicopter, it said, the fire and forget missile was effective against all types of aerial threat, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)and microlight aircraft.

Capable of operating from dispersed locations and flying at ultra-low levels, LCH can now effectively provide a protective umbrella from all aerial threats, it added.

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has accorded approval for procurement of initial batch of 15 LCHs (10 for the IAF and 5 for the Army).