First Indian combat chopper takes to sky | india | Hindustan Times
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First Indian combat chopper takes to sky

The indigenously built light combat helicopter (LCH) debuted in the skies on Sunday. But the Mangalore crash cast its shadow on its maiden flight as defence minister AK Antony and his junior colleague MM Pallam Raju called off their visit to Bangalore.

india Updated: May 24, 2010 01:52 IST
Rahul Singh

The indigenously built light combat helicopter (LCH) debuted in the skies on Sunday.

But the Mangalore crash cast its shadow on its maiden flight as defence minister AK Antony and his junior colleague MM Pallam Raju called off their visit to Bangalore.

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) began work on the LCH in 2006. It will be ready for induction in the army and air force by 2014-15, said R Srinivasan, who heads HAL's Helicopter Complex.

The heavily armoured helicopter is a bit obese. The 5.8-tonne helicopter has turned out to be 300 kg heavier than planned. HAL 's designers are now figuring out ways to cut down its weight so it can carry a higher weapons payload.

"We have been able to reduce the LCH's weight by 180 kg. The second prototype, to be flown in August, will be 90 kg lighter. The third will have no extra weight when it flies in December," Srinivasan said.

The LCH is tailored for roles such as destroying enemy tanks, counter-insurgency operations and offensive deployment in urban warfare. It incorporates stealth features and can undertake night missions.

With the LCH, India joins a league of countries — the US, Russia, China, Italy and South Africa — that have built attack helicopters.