Sunday, February 11, 2007

Bangalore: With the Indian indigenous Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv putting up a sterling display at the ongoing Aero India air show at Yelahanka Airforce Base in Bangalore, many eyes are now starting to look at the ALH’s more warlike cousin, the Light Combat Helicopter, which is at present just a mock-up in the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) pavilion at the show.
The Indian Army needs a helicopter gunship capable of operating at high–altitude.
Now HAL is poised to fill this gap. The Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) is designed to carry a 1,500 kilo weapon load even at very high altitudes. Armed with cluster bombs and air-to-surface missiles, one of the two-man crew will be solely in charge of targeting and firing the weaponry. It has a narrow airframe for stealth and will complement the IAF’s Russian-made Mi–35 gunship, which cannot operate at altitudes.
A mean looking machine, the LCH looks like any advanced chopper gunship.
The LCH weighs 5. 5 tonnes, with a narrow fuselage accommodating a pilot and a gunner/co-pilot in tandem, in an armoured cockpit. It incorporates a number of stealth features such as low visual signature, a low radar cross section and a low IR signature. It has crash-resistant landing gear for better survivability. The Dhruv's current external structure, comprising 67 per cent composites, has been significantly improved.
10/02/07 domain-B

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