Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) set 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 Indian Army and the Indian Air Force. Same will be subjected to customer acceptance and training shortly. On the remaining helicopters of the LSP series, in the current year HAL are producing four LCH for Indian Army and two for the Indian Air Force. Remaining six LCH will be produced next year.
The Indian Air Force has put forward a requirement for 65 LCH and the Indian Army for 114 helicopters. Of the 15 LSP helicopters, 10 are for the IAF and five for the Army. The Indian Army Aviation operates smaller utility helicopters but does not have attack helicopters in its fleet and has for sometime pitched for attack helicopters of its own to operate with its strike Corps. The attack helicopter fleet is operated by the Indian Air Force which provides close air support to the Indian Army.
The HAL Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) is an Indian multi-role attack helicopter designed and manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Its flight ceiling is the highest among all attack helicopters. It has been ordered for both the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army. The LCH drew extensively on an earlier indigenous helicopter developed and manufactured by HAL, the Dhruv; using this rotorcraft as a starting point has been attributed as significantly reducing the cost of the programme.
On 29 March 2010, the first LCH prototype performed its maiden flight. An extensive test programme, involving a total of four prototypes, was conducted. During the course of these tests, the LCH gained the distinction of being the first attack helicopter to land in Siachen, having repeatedly landed at several high altitude helipads, some of which being as high as 4145 meters to 4815. During mid-2016, the LCH was recognised as having completed its performance trials. On 26 August 2017, limited series production of the LCH was formally inaugurated.