Why in News:
- Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is gearing up to deliver the first batch of three Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) to the Indian Air Force (IAF).
About the LCH
- The LCH, the lightest attack helicopter in the world weighing 5.5 tonnes, has been designed and developed by the HAL to meet the specific and unique requirements of the Indian armed forces and can operate at heights of 12,000 feet.
- It is a two-seater attack helicopter derived from the existing Dhruv helicopter.
- The LCH can be deployed in various roles, including tracking slow-moving aerial targets, insurgency, destroying enemy defences, search and rescue, anti-tank and scouting.
- The LCH is effective as both an anti-infantry and anti-armour helicopter.
- According to HAL, the LCH is a potent weapon platform with state of the art systems and highly accurate weapons capable of hitting any type of target by day or night.
- Other features of the LCH include its ability to operate in the complete ‘Area of Responsibility’ (AOR) and altitudes and has the ability to carry adequate weapon load at high altitudes under varied conditions.
Need for LCH
- The Army Aviation operates smaller utility helicopters but does not have attack helicopters in its fleet and has for some time pitched for attack helicopters of its own to operate with its strike Corps. (The attack helicopter fleet is operated by the Air Force which provides close air support to the Army).
- The IAF operates the older Mi-25 and Mi-35 Russian attack helicopters which are in the process of being phased out and has recently inducted 22 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters from the U.S.
Other Helicopters in the arsenal
- Presently, the Army has 90 Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) and 75 Rudra, weaponized ALH, helicopters in service which are indigenously designed and developed by the HAL in addition to around 160 older Cheetah and Chetak utility helicopters which are in need of urgent replacement.
- Amid the ongoing standoff with China in Eastern Ladakh, LCH were deployed for operations at high altitude in Leh at short notice to support IAF missions, validating their capability.
To know about ALH- https://officerspulse.com/indian-coast-guard-icg/