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Hindustan Aeronautics set to deliver first batch of 3 Light Combat Helicopters to IAF


According to Dinakar Peri in The Hindu, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is gearing up to deliver the first batch of three Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) to the Indian Air Force (IAF) once acceptance tests are completed. These are part of the 15 Limited Series Production (LSP) helicopters approved for the Army and the IAF.

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Hindustan Aeronautics set to deliver first batch of 3 Light Combat Helicopters to IAF

HAL Light Combat Helicopter (Picture source: Aero India via Ayushi Bisht)


“HAL has received Letter of Intent for five Air force and five Army LCH for delivery pending contract finalization of 15 Limited Series Production (LSP) LCH. HAL has produced and signaled out three LSP LCH for the IAF. Same will be subjected to customer acceptance and training shortly,” a HAL source said. On the remaining helicopters of the LSP series, the source added for The Hindu, “In the current year we are producing four LCH for Army and two for the Air Force. The remaining six LCH will be produced next year.”

The deal for the 15 LCH was expected to have been signed in the first quarter of 2021 but has been delayed due to the second wave of the pandemic, Dinakar Peri reports. The IAF has put forward a requirement for 65 LCH and the Army for 114 helicopters. Of the 15 LSP helicopters, 10 are for the IAF and five for the Army.

The LCH, weighing 5.5 tonnes, has been designed and developed by HAL to meet the specific and unique requirements of the Indian armed forces. It can operate at altitudes of 12,000 feet.

The IAF operates the older Mi-25 and Mi-35 Russian attack helicopters which are in the process of being phased out and has inducted 22 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters. The Army will also start receiving the Apache attack helicopters from early 2023 onwards, six of which have been contracted under an estimated $800 mn deal from the U.S. in February 2020.