Light Combat Helicopter developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited ( HAL ) is a multirole combat helicopter for use by Indian Army and Indian Air Force. It is an attack helicopter derived from the existing HAL 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. It is one of the best weapon systems developed in India presently and has ushered Indian defence market in a new era of modernization and Indigenisation. Read on to know more about this magnificent attack chopper :
During the 1999 Kargil War, operations of Indian Air Force were hampered as the only combat helicopter, the Mi-35, couldn’t operate at extremely high altitudes where most of the conflict was concentrated.
"The Mi-35 couldn’t even cross the Banihal pass. We were handicapped and badly needed a chopper that can even launch assaults at high altitudes,” (Retd) Wing Commander Unni Pillai, the chief test pilot of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) reminisced. India has always been at a back foot regarding attack helicopters in comparison to its regional rivals like Pakistan which operates nearly 48 Bell AH-1F/S Attack helicopters which it acquired from U.S. and will be getting CAIC Z-10 from China and T-129 'Atak' from Turkey in addition to Bell AH-1Z Viper from U.S. and Mi-35 'Hind-E' from Russia.
India on the other hand operated some 20 Mi-35 some of which has been donated to Afghanistan and indigenous HAL Rudra which is an armed variant of HAL Dhruv utility helicopters. India lacked any sort of offensive attack helicopters fleet and India needed dedicated attack helicopters to keep up its offensive teeth. Loopholes were highlighted when India could not deploy any attack helicopters for troop support in high altitude warfare during Kargil War.
The inability of the MI-25/MI-35 and even the armed MI-17 to operate at these heights resulted in a critical weapon system being left out of the battle, for which India paid a heavy price in terms of casualties. Accordingly, the government approved the development of the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) by the state owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in 2006.
What’s the most important thing to develop a technology/ product? Different peoples have different opinions some may say money, someone may find human resource is the most important thing. Yes all these are very important but one thing stood up above all these that is the research and test facilities; these are the most important thing to develop anything.
HAL well utilised the ecosystem already started with Dhruv in development of HAL LCH. The ecosystem started with HAL LCH now will be well continued by future plans forthwith.