PHOTO & TEXT: Third bird is here! Self-designed & built Light Combat Helicopter takes to the skies


LCH-TD
TD-3 in flight. This shot was taken on November 12.

The Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) Technology Demonstrator TD-3 made the successful maiden flight here today. “Escorted by a Dhruv helicopter, the entire flight was flawless. It will be an effective weapon platform to deliver precision strikes at high altitude and we are confident it will meet the requirements of the IAF”, says Dr. R.K. Tyagi. “We are making all efforts to achieve IOC by September next year”, he adds.

In all HAL is expected to produce/manufacture 179 LCH for Indian Defence forces. Today’s flight was piloted by Wg Cdr Unni Pillai and co-piloted by Gp Capt SHK Nair. It took off at 15.20 hrs. and flew for 20 minutes.

The scope of this project covers design and development of two technology demonstrators, one full scale mock-up, one break away fuselage (BAF) and Initial Operational Clearance (IOC).

During development of LCH, HAL Board sanctioned LCH related projects, namely, Modified Rotor System, Manufacturing of TD-3 & TD-4 for acceleration of development flight testing, indigenous development of Integrated Avionics and Display System (lADS) & Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS) in order to reduce the dependency on foreign vendors and develop indigenous technology.

Breakaway fuselage of LCH was built and limit load testing was completed successfully in October 2012. LCH-TD-1 was first flown on March 29, 2010 and LCH-TD-2 was flown on June 28, 2011. Together TD-1 & TD-2, LCH has flown for 388 flights (285:10 hrs.).

For better planning, execution and monitoring of the project leading to enhancement of number of flights to achieve milestones of Cold Weather Trials, Hot Weather trails and weapon firing trials, HAL Board had sanctioned manufacturing of TD-3 and TD-4.

(Text and photo by HAL, Bangalore)

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