The Light Combat Helicopter is a twin-engine, dedicated combat helicopter of 5.8-ton class featuring narrow fuselage with tandem configuration for Pilot and Copilot / Weapon System Operator ( WSO ). It incorporates a number of stealth features such as reduced visual, aural, radar and infra-red signatures, and crash-worthy landing gear for better survivability.
The LCH is effective as both an anti-infantry and anti-armour helicopter. Main and tail rotor diameters are 13.3m and 2.05m respectively. The two-seater craft also has a tricycle crashworthy wheel landing gear and stealth capabilities. The flight controls and hydraulics of Dhruv have been redesigned for the LCH.
The helicopter is powered by two HAL/Turbomeca Shakti turboshaft engines, each of which can generate up to 871kW and can run for up to 3,000 hours without maintenance. Each engine weighs 205kg and has an output speed of 21,000rpm.
- Emergency Power: 1,204 kW (1,614 hp)
- Max Continuous Power: 880 kW (1,180 hp)
- Max Power at TakeOff: 1,053 kW (1,412 hp)
- OEI 2 min: 1,099 kW (1,473 shp)
- OEI Continuous: 1,024 kW (1,373 shp)
Time Between Overhaul: 3,000 flight hour
Dry Weight: 180 kilogram
The engine received European Aviation Safety Agency certification in 2007. It features a Full Authority Digital Electronic Control system, which decreases the work of the pilot by automatically counting engine cycles.
Sensors and countermeasures
The LCH is also equipped with state-of-the-art sensor suite. It includes a charge-coupled device camera, a forward-looking infra-red camera and a laser designator. The two cameras capture the location and position of enemies, ensuring clear visibility during bad weather conditions. The laser range-finder and designator aim laser-guided bombs and missiles towards the target.
HAL LCH sports an Electronic Warfare Suite and a state-of-the-art sensor suite which includes electronic warfare suite with a radar warning receiver, laser warning receiver and missile approach warning system. The LCH’s four-axis auto-hover and digital automatic flight control system have been developed in-house, while the DRDO’s Bangalore-based Defence Avionics Research Establishment (DARE) is developing the defensive aids suite, which includes a combined radar/laser warning system (this being SaabTech’s MILDS AR-60V2) and Bharat Dynamics Ltd-developed countermeasures dispensers.
DARE has also developed in-house the digital mission computer and pylon interface boxes. The flight control actuator system has been co-developed by HAL and the UK-based APPH. The SAGEM subsidiary of France’s SAFRAN Group, which has had a presence in India since the 1960s, has supplied the piloting inertial reference system (APIRS), more than 100 of which are already on board the Dhruv ALH. The APIRS uses new-generation inertial technologies like fibre-optic gyroscope (FOG) and silicon accelerometer. Other SAGEM-supplied items on board are the digital autopilot (which is also on the ‘Dhruv’), and the Sigma-95L RLG-INS. It will also feature a 25kg C-Music directional infra-red countermeasures (DIRCM) suite.
HAL LCH also sports a Elbit Compact Multi Purpose Advance Stabilisation System (CoMPASS) electro-optic/infrared turret that is integrated into the nose . The CoMPASS is a day-and-night surveillance system that includes a colour TV daylight camera, third generation 3-5 µm forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensor; laser target designator and rangefinder; and automatic tracking capabilities. It is being license built in India by Bharat Electronics Limited.
The LCH has a glass cockpit accommodating two crew, who sit one behind the other. The cockpit is equipped with multifunction displays, target acquisition and designation systems, and a digital video recorder to capture footage of the battlefield for use in debriefing. A helmet-mounted target system controls the turret guns mounted on the helicopter’s fuselage.
The tandem-seat cockpits each have twin side-by-side AMLCDs, will be NVG-compatible, will provide NBC protection to the crew, and have a ‘JedEyes’ helmet-mounted targeting system co-developed by HAL and Israel’s Elbit Systems. JedEyes is designed for day, night and brownout flight environments. JedEyes TM has a 70 x 40-degree FOV and 2250×1200 pixels resolution. It lso by providing razor-sharp, high resolution imagery and allowing pilots to take in wider than ever areas of ground and sky, with everything in sharp focus. Exciting features and unique technologies combine to provide dual vision 3D imagery on the See-Through Visor as well as processing and manipulation of a variety of visual cues and video sources such as UAVs, digital maps and on and off-board sensors.
The helicopter is equipped with electronic warfare systems and advanced weapons systems, including a chin-mounted, twin-barrel M621 20mm cannon on a Nexter THL-20 turret, 70mm rockets, MBDA air-to-air, air-to-surface and anti-radiation missiles, and Helina anti-tank guided missiles. Explosive ordnance includes iron bombs, cluster bombs and grenade launchers.
The M621 is a French 20 mm automatic cannon, designed by GIAT (now Nexter Systems). It is used on armored vehicles, aircrafts, helicopters and small coastal vessels in France, India, Romania and other countries.
- Weapon: 20mm 20 M 621 turreted cannon
- Average firing rate: 750 rounds per minute
- Ammunition stowage capacity: from 300 to 750
- Effective range: up to 2,000m
- Firing modes: Single shot, limited or unlimited bursts
Helina anti-tank guided missile
HELINA (Helicopter based NAG) is a third generation fire and forget class anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) system mounted on the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH). The system has all weather day and night capability and can defeat battle tanks with conventional armour as well as explosive reactive armour. The HELINA missile can engage targets both in direct hit mode as well as top attack mode. HELINA Weapon Systems is being inducted into the Indian Army (IA). A variant of HELINA Weapon System called DHRUVASTRA is being inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF)
The LAHAT is an advanced Laser Homing Attack Missile with exceptionally lightweight and small size that provides high lethality low collateral damage precision attacks. The missile can be launched from a variety of ground, maritime and airborne platforms and is capable of defeating static and moving targets, during day or night with pinpoint accuracy. Two warhead configurations, Anti armor and/or anti-personnel, that provide high effectiveness against a variety of target types.
- Missile – 15 Kg (with canister)
- Quad Missile Launcher – 22 Kg
- Dual Missile Launcher – 13 Kg
Length: 1 meter
Guidance: Semi-Active Laser Homing
Effective range: 8 Km
- Low hit angle for structure attacks
- High hit angle for open area attacks
Hit Accuracy: CEP less than 0.7 meter
MISTRAL ATAM ensures a large off-boresight capability, together with the ability to aim the missile seeker very precisely at a given target. The missile has a shaped trajectory in order to intercept targets top-down or at long range, the crew can also select the proximity fuze mode. MISTRAL ATAM is currently the only helicopter mounted air-to-air missile in full operational service.
- Weight: 18.7 kg
- Length: 1.86 m
- Diameter: 90 mm
- Maximum intercept range: 6.5 km
- Minimum intercept range: 500 m
LCH armaments is equipped with 4 stub-wing mounted Forges de Zeebrugge built rocket launcher FZ231 carrying 70mm (2.75“) rockets.LCH is also equipped with a laser designator which makes this platform suitable for firing FZ SAL-Laser guided Rocket FZ275 LGR.
- Indian Air Force (65 on order)
- Indian Army (114 on order)
- Crew: 2
- Length: 15.8 m (51 ft 10 in)
- Wingspan: 4.60 m (15 ft 1 in)
- Height: 4.70 m (15 ft 5 in)
- Max takeoff weight: 5,800 kg (12,787 lb)
- Payload: 700 kg (1,500 lb) weapons
- Powerplant: 2 × HAL/Turbomeca Shakti-1H1 turboshaft, 1,032 kW (1,384 shp) each derated to 798 kW (1,070 shp)
- Main rotor diameter: 13.2 m (43 ft 4 in)
- Maximum speed: 269 km/h (167 mph, 145 kn)
- Never exceed speed: 330 km/h (205 mph, 178 kn)
- Range: 550 km (340 mi, 300 nmi) with weapons
- Endurance: 3 hours 10 minutes
- Service ceiling: 6,500 m (21,300 ft)
- Rate of climb: 12 m/s (2,400 ft/min)