- Two light combat helicopters, produced by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, have been deployed in the Ladakh sector to support the Indian Air Force at short notice amid the border row with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), HAL said in a statement on Wednesday.
- “It is the lightest attack helicopter in the world designed and developed by HAL to meet the specific and unique requirements of Indian armed forces reflecting the crucial role of HAL in Atma Nirbhar Bharat,” said HAL chairman R Madhavan. The LCH figures on the government’s negative import list that seeks to ban the import of 101 different types of weapons, systems, and ammunition over the next five years.
- The state-run aircraft maker is expecting an order for 15 LCHs by the year-end, 10 for the IAF, and five for the army. The IAF and the army together need 160 LCHs.
- The deployment of the twin-engine LCH in the Ladakh sector is symbolic in nature and an acknowledgment of the potential that the platform holds but it is yet to be fully weaponized to meet the IAF’s requirements, people familiar with the LCH program said.
- “The LCH may not be carrying its full weapons load as of today but when the weapon integration is complete, it will prove its worth,” said Air Marshal KK Nohwar (retd), director-general, Centre for Air Power Studies.
- Air Marshal Arora took off from a high-altitude location to a forward area for a simulated attack on a target, the HAL statement said. “This was followed by a landing at one of the most treacherous helipads in the region. The LCH successfully demonstrated its quick deployment prowess to forward locations in extreme temperatures,” the statement said.
- LCH is a potent platform because of its state-of-the-art systems and highly accurate weapons (it will eventually carry) that are capable of hitting any type of target by day or night, it added. The two LCHs deployed in Ladakh are prototypes and the ones that will be supplied to the IAF will come with the desired weapons capability, said a HAL official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
- However, as a proactive measure, HAL has launched limited series production in anticipation of orders at its Bengaluru facility.