Defence Minister Arun Jaitley was in Bengaluru to launch HAL designed 5.8 ton category Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) and also to dedicate HAL’s role changer design upgrade programme of Hawk-i to the nation.
The defence ministry had on November 7, 2016, cleared a Rs 2,911 crore procurement of 15 LCHs for the Army and Air Force. These were limited series production (LSP) orders for the armed forces.
These light attack helicopters are being built at HAL’s Bengaluru helicopter complex. The Army is committed to buying 114 LCHs and the Air Force another 65.
The LCH features a narrow fuselage and tandem configuration for pilot and co-pilot/weapon system operator. It is equipped with 20mm Turret gun, 70mm rocket, air to air missiles, EO-Pod and helmet pointing system. This helicopter can carry out operational roles under extreme weather conditions at different altitude levels. It had demonstrated its capability to land and take off from the Siachen range with considerable loads.
Jaitley also dedicated the 100th Hawk advanced jet trainer to the nation. This is the Hawk-i (Hawk-India) that was indigenously converted into a combat-ready platform by HAL. This aircraft is now capable of delivering precise munitions which include air to ground and close combat weapons.
Addressing the gathering at HAL, he said, “In the present geopolitical situation, India is located sensitively. We have had multiple threats in the past. Therefore, preparedness is something India can never compromise on.”
While congratulating HAL on their achievements, he added that it is necessary for us to come out of a mindset that India is a buyer of defence equipment since “No country can win battles by being dependent on other countries and being a buyer of defence equipment.”