The Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), being developed by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), has successfully completed week-long hot weather flight trials at Jodhpur. It is expected to achieve Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) and enter series production by the end of the year.
“Test flights were carried out in the temperature range of 39 to 42 degrees Celsius. These were done with the involvement of customer pilots from the Indian Air Force and the Army in the presence of representatives from the Regional Centre for Military Airworthiness and the Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance,” T. Suvarna Raju, CMD of HAL said on Friday.
The chopper, currently under testing phase, cleared the test yesterday, paving way for the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC), expected by the end of this year and is likely to enter production from 2017-18.
“The week long test flight schedule of the LCH was carried out in the temperature range of 39 to 42 degree Celsius,” said an IAF official.
The third technology demonstrator (TD-3) of LCH was ferried from Bengaluru to Jodhpur for the trials.
Pilots from the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army, along with the representatives of certification teams, were present during the trial.
According to IAF officials, the chopper has already completed cold weather flight tests at Leh in February this year and the hot weather test was due for June in Rajasthan.
“The LCH was subjected to temperature survey of engine bay, temperature survey of hydraulic system, assessment of performance, verifying the handling qualities and loads at different AUWs (all up weights), checking low-speed handling capabilities and capturing the height-velocity diagram establishment,” the official said.
Light Combat Helicopter’s third trial aircraft (LCH TD-3) made its first flight in November last year, marking a new milestone in the development of an indigenous attack helicopter that can fight in the country’s treacherous and mountainous fronts of north and east.
According to IAF officials, the need for a versatile combat copter was strongly felt after the 1999 Kargil attack, which could provide air defense amidst mountains, against slow-moving targets, as air escort, in urban warfare, counter-insurgency and anti-tank operations.