LCH sea trials
India’s light combat helicopter (LCH) is off to a successful start to sea trials. The second prototype of the programme is now three days into a complex list of testpoints to be completed over 10 days on the East Coast just outside Chennai. The LCH prototype is being filmed and recorded by an IAF Mi-8 from Yelahanka Air Force Station. The pilots and test team are currently extremely pleased with the helicopter’s handling and manoeuvrability at sea level, since for the last three years, both prototypes have been confined to altitudes of 3,000 m and above at Bangalore.
Sources involved with the trials said, “The helicopter is maturing well and promises to be a very good platform once ready. We are putting it through the necessary paces as required by the IAF and by us to bring the platform up to maturity.” The LCH, yet to be given a formal name like the Tejas or Sitara, will, later this year, be put through cold and hot weather trials, following which it’s first crucial weapons trials will begin. The helicopter is expected to deploy rocket pods, the HELINA airlaunched anti-armour missile and the MBDA Mistral air-to-air missile initially, but could be configured for other munitions as well.