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India is enhancing its combat helicopter fleet. HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) has received a Request for Proposal (RFP) for 15 Limited Series Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) from the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Army. This comes close on the heels of HAL receiving RFP for the supply of 83 LCAs (Light Combat Aircraft) just days ago.
India has been showing interest in several Israeli systems for this helicopter, namely various pods and Spike anti-tank missiles manufactured by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.
LCH is a 5.5-ton class, combat helicopter designed and developed by HAL. It is powered by two Shakti engines and inherits many technical features of the Advanced Light Helicopter.
According to the company’s statement on its website, the features that are unique to LCH are sleek and narrow fuselage, tri-cycle crashworthy landing gear, crashworthy and self-sealing fuel tanks, armor protection and low visibility features which makes the LCH lethal, agile and survivable.
The helicopter would have day/night targeting systems for the crew including the Helmet pointed sight and Electro-optical pod consisting of CCD camera/FLIR/Laser Range Finder (LRF)/ Laser Designator(LD).
The LCH is fitted with Self Protection Suite consisting of Radar/Laser Missile warning systems and Countermeasures dispensing system.
Presently, four technology demonstrators are under flight testing. LCH has the distinction of being the first attack helicopter to land in Forward Bases at Siachen, 5400 m above sea level.