The light combat helicopter (LCH) was designed and built by Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL). It is an attack helicopter derived from the existing Dhruv helicopter.
The LCH can be deployed in various roles, including tracking slow-moving aerial targets, insurgency, destroying enemy defences, search and rescue, anti-tank and scouting. A datalink system transmits mission data to mobile platforms and ground stations operating within the network.
The LCH was developed to meet the requirements of the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army, who have ordered 62 and 114 units respectively. Its maiden flight took place in Bangalore in March 2010.
The Indian Air Force will procure 64 LCHs as part of a $4bn contract signed with Hindustan Aeronautics in March 2011. The helicopters will be armed with Helina missile with an extended range of 7km, a missile warning system and anti-missile countermeasures. Deliveries are scheduled to take place between 2013 and 2014.
HAL light combat helicopter design
The LCH is effective as both an anti-infantry and anti-armour helicopter. Main and tail rotor diameters are 13.3m and 2.05m respectively. The two-seater craft also has a tricycle crashworthy wheel landing gear and stealth capabilities. The flight controls and hydraulics of Dhruv have been redesigned for the LCH.
India Launches $500 Mln Program to Acquire 15 Light Combat Helicopters: Here
New Delhi (Sputnik) — The Indian government has ordered fifteen locally developed Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) for fulfilling urgent requirements of the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army. These will be manufactured at the Bengaluru facility of Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) which was inaugurated by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this year.
The selling point of the twin-engine LCH is that they are not only lighter compared to the American AH-64E Apache attack helicopters but also come at half the price i.e. $35 million per unit.
The helicopter is equipped with electronic warfare systems and advanced weapons systems, including a chin-mounted, twin-barrel M621 20mm cannon on a Nexter THL-20 turret, 70mm rockets, MBDA air-to-air, air-to-surface and anti-radiation missiles, and Helina anti-tank guided missiles. Explosive ordnance includes iron bombs, cluster bombs and grenade launchers.
M621 20mm cannon
The M621 is a French 20 mm automatic cannon, designed by GIAT (now Nexter Systems). It is used on armored vehicles, aircrafts, helicopters and small coastal vessels in France, India, Romania and other countries. Its variants include THL 20, chin mounting for helicopters; SH 20, door mounting for helicopters; CP 20, pintle-mounted naval gun, and others. The gun entered service in 1973 and is still in service today.
- Type: Automatic gun
- Calibre: 20×102 mm
- Gun Weight: 100.3 lbs (45.5 kg)
- Gun Length: 86.9 in (220.7 cm)
- Bore Length: 57.5 in (146 cm)
- Capacity: Belt fed, platform dependent capacity (160 for model 15A naval mounting, 300-750 for THL 20)
- Rate of fire: 750 rpm
- Muzzle velocity: 980-1030 m/s depending on ammunition type
M621 20mm cannon on a Nexter THL-20 turret
M621 20mm cannon on a Nexter THL-20 turret
The THL20 turret is designed to be fitted to attack helicopters and upgrade helicopters initially intended for transport or observation. This turret is developed around the 20 M 621 cannon, widely known for its great versality and firing the NATO-standard 20mm x 102 ammunition. The THL20’s highly reduced integration requirements (weight, overall dimensions, recoil force) and its simplicity (operation and maintenance) make it a turreted cannon which is ideally suited for upgrading existing helicopters.
– Weapon: 20mm 20 M 621 turreted cannon
– Average firing rate: 750 rounds per minute
– Ammunition stowage capacity: from 300 to 750
– Effective range: up to 2,000m
– Firing modes: Single shot, limited or unlimited bursts Â Â
Status: In service on the Romanian IAR 330 helicopters and the Indian LHA helicopters.
Helina anti-tank guided missile
The Nag (Hindi for “Cobra”) is an Indian indigenously developed anti-tank missile. It was developed by DRDO – India’s premier defence agency. This missiles enables the Indian Armed Forces to destroy tanks up to the distance of 4 km. The Nag is comparable to the FGM-148 Javelin, Spike or PARS 3LR.
The missile was developed under Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP) which was first initiated in 1982 by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. Under this program various missiles were developed which includes – Agni, Akash, Nag,Prithvi and Trishul. The program was approved by the Prime Minister and her Scientific Team in 1980 and Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was inducted to lead the program.
The Nag is a 3rd generation fire-and-forget type missile. It has an 8 kg tandem HEAT warhead. The Nag is a top attack missile. During flight it when approaching the target it flies upwards and then suddenly dives towards the target. This method of attack is very suitable to destroy tanks, because most of them have only a minimum level of armor protection in the upper part of the turret. The Nag can penetrate the latest generation armor, like explosive reactive armor and composite armor.
For guidance the Nag uses imagining infrared passive seeker system which is difficult to jam. The guidance system is also equipped with a CCD camera. Before the launch missile locks on the infrared image of the target. In flight it automatically guides itself onto the target. Hit probability with a single missile is 77%.
The body of the missile is fully made of fiberglass structure. The rocket motor of the missile uses nitramene-based double base sustainer propellant which is smokeless and makes hard to trace the shooter. Missile has a flight speed of 230 m/s.
The Nag is used by the missile carrier known as the NAMICA. There is also a helicopter based version known as HELINA (HELIcopter NAg). The NAMICA version uses a ‘lock on before launch’ system which means that the missile locks on to a target and is then launched. However the HELINA version uses ‘lock on after launch’ system so the range of the missile is extended to 7 km. The HELINA variant of this missile is on the verge of completing its trail. The HELINA missile was test fired in July 2015 near Jaisalmer, India. It hit 2 out of 3 targets. Source military-today.com
Late in 1998, Israel Aircraft Industries, MBT weapon Systems Division, revealed that it had developed, under contract to the Israel Defence Force, a new laser-guided anti-tank missile called the LAHAT (LAser Homing Anti-Tank) which can be fired from existing 105 mm and 120 mm tank guns.
IAI believes the LAHAT missile, a gun launched projectile designed to destroy armoured vehicles as well as helicopters, is a cost-effective way for countries to update their existing 105 mm fleets that are becoming outgunned on the battlefield.
For the United States market, Israel Aircraft Industries, MBT Weapon Systems Division, has teamed with General Dynamics Ordnance Systems of the United Siates.
To defeat MBTs fitted with explosive reactive armour the LAHAT missile includes a tandem High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) and is claimed to have a high angle of attack for effective armour penetration. Source army-guide.com
|Weight||13 kg (28.7 lb)|
|Length||975 mm (38.4 in)|
|Diameter||105 mm (4.1 in)|
|Warhead weight||10 kg (22.0 lb)|
|6,000–8,000 m (6,600–8,700 yd)
8,000–13,000 m (8,700–14,200 yd) air launched
|Speed||285–300 m/s (940–980 ft/s)|
|Semi-Active Laser Homing|
|105–120 mm smooth bore
Specification data wikipedia.org
HAL’s LCH passes rocket trials; will participate in ‘Iron Fist’ exercise: Here
After completion of basic performance flight testing and outstation trials, the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) has now satisfactorily fired Rockets (70 mm) from its prototype, TD-3 in weaponized configuration, a HAL press release said.
“The initial rocket firing trials have been carried out at Jaisalmer, establishing satisfactory integration of hardware and software, structural integrity and safe separation of rocket ammunition. Integration of weapons such as Rocket, Turret Gun (20 mm) and Air to Air Missile on LCH will further continue”, said HAL ‘s CMD T. Suvarna Raju.
The LCH has a glass cockpit accommodating two crew, who sit one behind the other. The cockpit is equipped with multifunction displays, target acquisition and designation systems, and a digital video recorder to capture footage of the battlefield for use in debriefing. A helmet-mounted target system controls the turret guns mounted on the helicopter’s fuselage.
‘JedEyes’ helmet-mounted targetting system
The tandem-seat cockpits each have twin side-by-side AMLCDs, will be NVG-compatible, will provide NBC protection to the crew, and have a ‘JedEyes’ helmet-mounted targetting system co-developed by HAL and Israel’s Elbit Systems. JedEyes is designed for day, night and brownout flight environments. JedEyes TM has a 70 x 40 degree FOV and 2250×1200 pixels resolution. JedEyes addresses the special needs of helicopter pilots and offers dramatic improvements over existing HMDs, not only through its ultra-wide Field of View (FOV), but also by providing razor-sharp, high resolution imagery and allowing pilots to take in wider than ever areas of ground and sky, with everything in sharp focus. Exciting features and unique technologies combine to provide dual vision 3D imagery on the See-Through Visor as well as processing and manipulation of a variety of visual cues and video sources such as UAVs, digital maps and on and off-board sensors.
A Tadiran SDR-7200AR multi-bandwidth software-defined radio, and the QuadEye panoramic night vision goggle is also on the proposed list. The IAF has also demanded that the LCH be equipped with anti-missile defence system like BAE Systems’ ‘Boldstroke’, which uses modular open-system architecture and non-proprietary standard interfaces that support interchangeability, technology insertion, and diminishing manufacturing sources resolution. It allows for direct and fibre-coupling between the laser and pointer/tracker, providing installation flexibility to meet the size, weight, and power requirements of both light and heavy rotary-winged platforms. It is much lighter, has fewer moving optical parts and uses mirrors instead of a physical ‘light pipe’ to shoot its laser. The entire unit is housed in one box. A helicopter with ‘Boldstroke’ mounted on either side would have 360 degrees of assured protection from IR-guided anti-aircraft missiles. Source fullafterburner.weebly.com
Sensors and countermeasures
The LCH is also equipped with state-of-the-art sensor suite. It includes a charge-coupled device camera, a forward-looking infra-red camera and a laser designator. The two cameras capture the location and position of enemies, ensuring clear visibility during bad weather conditions. The laser range-finder and designator aim laser-guided bombs and missiles towards the target.
The helicopter is also fitted with radar and laser warning receivers, a missile approach warning system, countermeasure dispensing systems and a missile jammer.
The helicopter is powered by two HAL/Turbomeca Shakti turboshaft engines, each of which can generate up to 871kW and can run for up to 3,000 hours without maintenance. Each engine weighs 205kg and has an output speed of 21,000rpm.
HAL/Turbomeca Shakti turboshaft engine
The Turbomeca Ardiden is a family of turboshaft engines featuring simple, modular and compact design. They are built around a gas generator with two centrifugal compressor stages, coupled to a single-stage high-pressure turbine. The power turbine comprises two stages. The engine is controlled by a dual-channel Engine Electronic Control Unit (EECU). The Ardiden engines offer very low cost of maintenance and ownership. Developing from 1,200 to 2,000 shp of maximum power, the engine is suitable to power helicopters in the five to eight tons class. Besides, the Ardiden engines satisfy the most demanding mission requirements, while retaining full performance under high altitude and hot temperature conditions.
The Shakti, also known as Ardiden 1H1, is a turboshaft engine jointly developed by Turbomeca (France) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) based on the Ardiden turboshaft to power weaponized variants of the Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH).
Emergency Power: 1,204 kW (1,614 hp)
Max Continuous Power: 880 kW (1,180 hp)
Max Power at TakeOff: 1,053 kW (1,412 hp)
OEI 2 min: 1,099 kW (1,473 shp)
OEI Continuous: 1,024 kW (1,373 shp)
Time Between Overhaul: 3,000 hour
Dry Weight: 180 kilogram (397 pound)
Engine data deagel.com
The engine received European Aviation Safety Agency certification in 2007. It features a Full Authority Digital Electronic Control system, which decreases the work of the pilot by automatically counting engine cycles.
Image @Photos: HAL HQ
The LCH has a cruise speed of 260km/h and a max speed of 275km/h. Its never-exceed speed is 330km/h. It can climb at a rate of 12m/s, and hits its maximum and altitude and service ceiling at 2,743m and 6,500m respectively. The helicopter has a ferry range of 700km.
Data from HAL India
- Crew: 2
- Length: 15.8 m (51 ft 8 in)
- Rotor diameter: 13.3 m (43 ft 6 in)
- Height: 4.7 m (15 ft 4 in)
- Disc area: 136.85 m² (1,472 ft²)
- Max. takeoff weight: 5,800 kg (12,125 lb)
- Powerplant: 2 × HAL/Turbomeca Shakti turboshaft, 1032 kW (1,384 shp) each
- Maximum speed: 268 km/h (145 knots, 167 mph)
- Range: 550 km (297 nmi, 342 mi)
- Service ceiling: 6,500 m (21,300 ft)
- Rate of climb: 12 m/s (39.4 ft/s)
- Guns: 1 × 20 mm M621 cannon on Nexter THL-20 turret
- Hardpoints: 4 (two under each wing) and provisions to carry combinations of:
Updated on Dec 23, 2017