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Homegrown combat helicopters to LCA trainers – India witnesses continuous growth in indigenous defence production

During his visit, Deputy Chief of the Air Staff (DCAS) Air Marshal Ashutosh Dixit flew the Series Production Trainer-01 of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, which is undergoing final developmental test sorties (Image courtesy: Indian Air Force)

India continues its march towards achieving ‘Atmanirbharta’ in defence manufacturing as the delivery of 10 LCH Limited Series Production aircraft for the IAF is nearing completion and the production of the Series Production aircraft is likely to commence shortly to meet the order of 145 Series Production LCH for the IAF and Indian Army.

On Thursday, Deputy Chief of the Air Staff (DCAS) Air Marshal Ashutosh Dixit visited National Flight Test Centre, Aeronautical Development Agency and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Tejas Division to assess the progress of the indigenous combat aircraft projects.

During the visit to the Tejas Division, the HAL team briefed the DCAS on the production status of trainer aircraft and the plan for deliveries of the LCA Mk 1A. The DCAS will also visit the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) Prachand Production Line to assess the production status of the homegrown combat helicopter.

A keen Experimental Test Pilot himself, Dixit has been driving the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ efforts of the Indian Air Force towards self-reliance in the development and manufacture of combat aircraft.

During his visit, the Air Marshal flew the Series Production Trainer-01 of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, which is undergoing final developmental test sorties, to get a firsthand feel of its capabilities. The IAF is presently operating the LCA Mk 1 aircraft and has a pending order of 83 LCA Mk 1A aircraft.

Light Combat Helicopter Limited Series Production (LSP) is an indigenously designed, developed and manufactured state-of-the-art modern combat helicopter containing approx. 45% indigenous content by value which will progressively increase to more than 55% for SP Version.

This helicopter is equipped with requisite agility, manoeuvrability, extended range, high altitude performance and around-the-clock, all-weather combat capability to perform roles of Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), Destruction of Enemy Air Defence (DEAD), Counter Insurgency (CI) operations, against slow-moving aircraft and Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPAs), high altitude bunker busting operations, Counter Insurgency operations in the jungle and urban environments and support to ground forces and would be a potent platform to meet the operational requirements of Indian Air Force & Indian Army.

State-of-the-art technologies and systems compatible with stealth features such as reduced Visual, Aural, Radar and IR signatures and crashworthiness features for better survivability have been integrated in LCH for deployment in combat roles catering to emerging needs for next 3 to 4 decades. Several key aviation technologies like Glass Cockpit and composite airframe structure have been indigenised. The future Series Production version will consist of further modern & indigenous systems.

Under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan, India is continuously growing in its capability to indigenously design, develop and manufacture advanced cutting-edge technologies and systems in the Defence Sector. The manufacturing of LCH by HAL will give a further push to the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative and boost indigenisation of defence production and the defence industry in the country. Production of LCH will also reduce import dependence for Combat helicopters in the country. Light Combat Helicopters are already in the import embargo list. With its versatile features built in for combat missions, LCH has export capability.