Thursday, January 7, 2010

India to test - fly Light Combat Helicopter in December

India is ready to test fly a prototype of the indigenously developed Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) by end of December.
“The first prototype of LCH is expected to take to the skies between December 26 and December 29,” PTI quoted a senior HAL official as saying.
The light combat helicopter, designed and developed by the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), is currently undergoing functional tests and is expected to be ready for ground run by December 24.
LCH is expected to get the initial operational clearance (IOC) by December 2010 and the final operational clearance (FOC) in 2011.
The delivery of the machines expected to begin from 2014 will augment the Indian Air Force (IAF) fleet of small and highly manoeuvrable rotary flying machines.
LCH would also have a weaponised version, similar to ALH. “There will be rocket pods, a machine gun and also air-to-air missiles in the combat version of LCH. But in the first prototype all these features will not be there,” the official said.
HAL has also started design of a light observation helicopter (LOH) which would eventually replace the ageing fleet of Cheetah and Chetak helicopters which have been in service since 1978.
“We have got about 600 of them (Cheetah and Chetak) in service now. They are reaching the end of their technical life as they have flown 60,000 hours or more,” he said.
HAL has already bagged a firm order to deliver 65 LCH to the IAF and 114 to the Army.

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