The phased induction of those 5.8-tonne choppers, that are armed with 20mm turret weapons, 70mm rocket methods and air-to-air missiles, will increase IAF’s capabilities in opposition to enemy infantry troops, tanks, bunkers and UAVs (unmanned aerial automobiles) in high-altitude areas in addition to in different terrains.
Two LCHs, by the way, had been flight-evaluated in jap Ladakh in 2020 amidst the still-continuing navy confrontation with China there. “It was through the Kargil battle with Pakistan in 1999 that the necessity for such an indigenously-developed armed helicopter with high-altitude functionality was acutely felt for the primary time,” an officer mentioned.
IAF and Military require an estimated 160 LCHs within the coming years. The Cupboard Committee on Safety had cleared the primary contract for 15 LCHs (10 IAF and 5 Military), at an total value of Rs. 3,887 crore, together with infrastructure sanctions value Rs 377 crore, in March this yr.
Defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics has produced eight of the 15 choppers until now, of which 4 have been “accepted” by IAF. These LCHs have 45% indigenous content material by worth, which can progressively improve to greater than 55% for the subsequent model, an official mentioned.
The LCH is touted as the one assault helicopter in its weight class on the earth which might land and take-off at an altitude of 5,000-metre or 16,400-feet with a substantial load of weapons and gasoline.
Powered by two Shakti engines, developed with the French Safran Group, the highly-agile and manoeuvrable LCHs have superior options like helmet-mounted sights, glass cockpits and composite airframes, and are able to working around-the-clock in all-weather situations.
“The LCHs even have enhanced survivability by way of lightweight armour panels in opposition to 7.62mm and 12.7mm rounds, self-sealing gasoline tanks, damage-tolerant principal rotor blades, bullet-proof windshields and a low frontal radar cross-section,” the official mentioned.
“Furthermore, the LCHs have built-in crashworthiness of touchdown gear, backside construction, crew seats and gasoline tanks. For self-protection, the choppers have infra-red suppression methods, digital warfare capabilities, and flare and chaff dispensers,” he added.
IAF, after all, has inducted 22 heavy-duty Apache assault helicopters, armed with Hellfire and Stinger missiles amongst different armaments, below the Rs 13,952 crore deal inked with the US in September 2015.
IAF can be integrating its Russian-origin Mi-17 V5 armed helicopters with Israeli Spike NLOS (non-line of sight) anti-tank guided missiles that may destroy floor targets round 30-km away. IAF and Military even have the weaponized variations of the indigenous Dhruv superior gentle helicopters known as the Rudra.