India's state owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd has commenced serial production of the HAL designed and developed Light Combat Helicopter.
The 5.8 tonne twin engined attack helicopter is based on the 5.5 tonne Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv developed by HAL.
The helicopter was also granted Initial Operational Capability (IOC) following extensive flight testing carried out in extreme weather conditions at different altitudes from sea level, hot weather desert, cold weather and Himalayan altitudes.
HAL is initially building 15 LCHs for Indian Army and Air Force for $ 450 million. Both of them will eventually acquire 114 and 65 of them respectively.
One of the unique feature of the LCH is its ability to provide fire support to ground troops at mountainous high altitude regions of above 6,000 m, and is hence ideal to operate across India's border with China and Pakistan.
The LCH has demonstrated capability to land and take off from icy Siachen Range, the hotspot between India and Pakistan, with considerable load, fuel and weapons that are beyond any other combat helicopter.
The LCH features a stealthy narrow fuselage along with other features that suppress visual, aural, radar and IR signature. The armored cockpit have tandem seating configuration for pilot and co-pilot/ weapon system operator.
It is equipped with indigenous state of the art technologies like integrated dynamic system (transmission), bearing less Tail Rotor, anti-resonance vibration isolation system, crash worthy landing gear, smart glass cockpit, hinge less main rotor, and stealth features from visual, aural, radar and IR signatures.
Armament include nose mounted 20 mm Turret gun, stub wing borne 70 mm Rocket pods and Air to Air missiles and anti-tank guided missiles.
Other features include electro-optical pod for all weather target acquisition, laser designators, helmet mounted cueing system and electronic warfare protection suite.
The LCH is powered by to HAL/Turbomeca Shakti/Ardidhen turboshaft engine rated at 895 kW each.