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HAL Light Combat Helicopter

Lightweight attack helicopter

Light Combat Helicopter

The Indian Light Combat Helicopter is expected to enter service in the near future

Entered service ?
Crew 2 men
Dimensions and weight
Length 15.8 m
Main rotor diameter 13.3 m
Height 4.7 m
Weight (empty) 2 250 kg
Weight (maximum take off) 5 800 kg
Engines and performance
Engines 2 xHAL/Turbomeca Shakti turboshaft engines
Engine power 2 x 1 430 shp
Maximum speed 265 km/h
Service ceiling 6.5 km
Range 550 km
Ferry range ~ 1 000 km
Cannon 20-mm cannon
Missiles Helina anti-tank, anti radiation and air-to-air missiles
Other 60-, 70- or 80-mm unoperated rockets, bombs


   The Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) is being developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to meet Indian armed forces requirement. In 2006 HAL announced its plans to develop a new attack helicopter. The first prototype made its first flight in 2010. By 2013 a total of 3 prototypes were built. In 2015 this helicopter successfully completed performance trials.

   The Light Combat Helicopter is expected to enter service in the near future. Indian Army plans to acquire 114 of these helicopters and Indian Air Force - 65 units. However it is unknown if helicopters will be produced and delivered. A number of Indian military projects and foreign weapon procurements were stopped or plagued with delays due to funding problems and corruption.

   The Light Combat Helicopter was developed from HAL Dhruv utility helicopter and has a maximum possible commonality in order to reduce development, production and maintenance costs. Also it will be well suited for countries who operate Dhruv helicopters.

   The LCH has a narrow fuselage. The helicopter has crashworthy landing gear and bottom structure for better survivability of the pilots. This machine has a number of stealth features such as canted flat panels to reduce radar cross section. Rotor blades have advanced shapes to reduce noise. Exhaust gasses are mixed and cooled in order to reduce IR signature. Cockpit has flat glass panels in order to reduce light reflections.

   The main role of this attack helicopter is anti-armor and anti-infantry operations, scouting, destruction of enemy air defense units, escort of vehicles and helicopters. It can be used against slow flying aerial targets, such as UAVs. It can also support combat search and rescue operations.

   This attack helicopter carries armor. Most likely that pilots and main components are protected. It is worth noting that cockpit has NBC filters.

   This helicopter has a front-mounted target acquisition and designation system with FLIR. Sensor suite was developed in cooperation with Israel. Electronic warfare suite has been developed by SAAB of South Africa.

   The second prototype of the Light Combat Helicopter was fitted with weaponry. It is armed with a 20-mm turret-mounted cannon. Both gun and THL 20 turret were developed in France by Nexter. This attack helicopter has detachable stub wings. It can carry various rockets. These include 60-, 70- or 80-mm unguided rockets, HELINA long-range anti-tank missiles, anti-radiation and air-to-air missiles. This helicopter can also carry free-fall bombs. It is reported that helicopter will be equipped with helmet-mounted targeting systems. It can conduct day and night combat operations.

   The Light Combat Helicopter is optimized for high altitude operations. This feature was added keeping in mind Kargil conflict between Indian and Pakistani soldiers in high altitude mountainous region. This machine is powered by two HAL/Turbomeca Shakti turboshaft engines. This engine was jointly developed by Indian and French companies. It also powers HAL Dhruv helicopter that were produced since 2007.


Video of the HAL Light Combat Helicopter


Light Combat Helicopter

Light Combat Helicopter

Light Combat Helicopter

Light Combat Helicopter

Light Combat Helicopter

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