BENGALURU: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL’s) light combat helicopter completed an important milestone recently where it successfully fired on a moving aerial target with an air-to-air missile.
The tests using the indigenously designed and developed chopper were conducted recently at the integrated test range at Chandipur, Odisha and the HAL termed the mission ‘flawless’ as the LCH achieved a direct hit on the target, destroying it completely.
The tests were conducted by Wing Commander (retd) Subhash P John, test pilot, Colonel (retd) Ranjit Chitale, flight test engineer from HAL as well as Group Captain Rajeev Dubey, test pilot for the Indian Air Force (IAF), a statement from the HAL said.
R Madhavan, Chairman and Managing Director of the HAL, said that it was the first time in the country that a helicopter had carried out an air-to-air missile engagement. “None of the helicopters with the military services in the country has demonstrated such a capability. With this, LCH has successfully completed all weapon integration tests and is ready for operational induction,” he added.
“The LCH is the only attack helicopter in the world which could operate in inhospitable conditions like Siachen glacier. Designed and developed by Rotary Wing Research & Design Centre in response to the operational needs of Indian Armed Forces, its capabilities far exceed that of contemporary attack helicopters of its class,” the HAL statement said.
LCH pilots will be able to detect and destroy targets on ground or in the air using helmet mounted sight and a forward looking infrared sighting system which will allow for launching of missiles without turning the chopper.
“The fire and forget missile is effective against all types of aerial threat, including UAVs and micro-light aircraft. Capable of operating from dispersed locations and flying at ultra low levels, LCH can now effectively provide a protective umbrella from all aerial threats,” the statement said. The Defence Acquisition Council has accorded approval for procurement of initial batch of 15 LCHs (10 for IAF and five for Army).