HAL's Light Combat Helicopter will be ready by December 2008

The first prototype of the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), being designed and developed by State-owned aviation major, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will be ready for its maiden flight between October and December next year, according to HAL Chairman Ashok K. Baweja.

On the sidelines of a seminar on “Helicopter Technology” here on Tuesday, Mr. Baweja said, the detailed design drawing of the LCH would be completed by December this year. “We will be then releasing the drawings to make parts.

The first prototype should be ready between October and December 2008,” he told presspersons. Eventually, the LCH would fit into the IAF’s attack helicopter squadron.

Elaborating on the HAL’s current project to develop a 10-tonne attack helicopter, Mr. Baweja said the HAL was now looking for co-development partners for the project. “We are at the stage of firming up specifications with the customers and finding partners. Work is in that preparatory mode.

The helicopter will have to be configured for Indian conditions, very high altitudes and very hot temperatures. Most machines in the world are a little short on that,” he explained.

The 10-tonne copter would be in the same class as the Mi-17. The helicopter, which will augment the current fleet of the three-tonne class observation choppers and the six-tonne class Dhruv, would initially be made as a military version.
Hawks coming soon

The first four of the Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) aircraft, Hawk, ordered by the Indian Air Force (IAF) to replace its ageing Kiran aircraft, would land at the Air Force Station, Bidar, within the next 15 days, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal F.H. Major told the journalists. “They should be here by November 15 or 16,” he announced.

India had ordered 66 trainers from BAe Systems, the UK-based manufacturers of the aircraft. Twenty four of the aircraft were scheduled to come in a ready to fly configuration, the rest to be built under license at HAL’s Bangalore complex.