July 7, 2012

Light Combat Helicopter undergoing sea trials off Chennai

BANGALORE: Another milestone is round the corner for the indigenous attack helicopter currently under development.

The Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), which was developed by the Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL), is currently undergoing sea-level trials off Chennai.

The trials commenced last week and will last for about 10 more days.

The trials will evaluate effects of flying the chopper at sea-level.

The Indian Air Force and the Army together are looking at inducting 150 LCHs in the future.

The trials are overseen by Wing Commander Unni Pillai, chief test pilot, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). He said the second prototype or Technology Demonstrator (TD-2) of the LCH were being subjected to various tests at the sea-level conditions.

Sea trials are part of the process of testing the effectiveness of the aircraft at various altitudes and temperature conditions.

"All the earlier trials were carried out in and around Bangalore which is about 3,000 feet above sea level. Now we are testing the helicopter at the altitude at about 500 feet above sea-level. The performance of the helicopter has been good and so far there have been no surprises," said Pillai.

The LCH is a derivative of Advanced Light Helicopter (Dhruv) and will be adding teeth to the already existing fleet of Mi-35 and Mi-25 attack helicopters. This sea trials come at a time when IAF is in the process of acquiring Boeing's Apache Longbow advanced attack helicopters.

HAL sources say the performance of the LCH is on par with any other attack helicopter including Apache.

  -  Times of India

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