It was a red letter day to the country’s Make in India dreams as Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on August 26, 2017 declared the launch of production of HAL designed 5.8 ton category Light Combat Helicopter and dedicated the HAL’s role changer design upgrade program of Hawk-i to the nation at HAL’s premises in Bengaluru. Senior officials from Ministry of Defence, Indian Air Force and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited were present on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Jaitely hailed HAL’s confidence in bringing Hawk-i and LCH indigenously. He said DPSU work culture and performance have highest standards of professionalism. “We are moving in the right direction in evolving ourselves into a major manufacturing hub. In this context today’s experience has been encouraging”, he said.
HAL’s Rotary Wing R&D Centre designed the LCH whereas Mission & Combat System R&D Centre (MCSRDC) designed the Hawk-I in association with the Aircraft Division.
The basic version of LCH has been cleared by CEMILAC. The DAC has accorded approval for procurement of 15 LCH from HAL under IDDM category. Accordingly, the production is launched today.
HAL designed the twin engine Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) of 5.8 Ton class featuring narrow fuselage and tandem configuration for pilot and co-pilot/ weapon system operator. The helicopter has indigenous state of the art technologies like integrated dynamic system, bearing less Tail Rotor, anti-resonance vibration isolation system, crash worthy landing gear, smart glass cockpit, hinge less main rotor, Armour Protection and stealth features from visual, aural, radar and IR signatures.
The state-of-the-art helicopter is equipped with 20mm Turret gun, 70 mm Rocket, Air to Air Missile, EO-Pod and Helmet pointing system. The helicopter can carry out operational roles under extreme weather conditions at different altitudes from sea level, hot weather desert, cold weather and Himalayan altitudes. The LCH has demonstrated capability to land and take off from Siachen Range with considerable load, fuel and weapons that are beyond any other combat helicopter.
HAL produced its 100th Hawk jet trainer aircraft with designation as Hawk-i; (Hawk-India). HAL took up the indigenous role change development program to convert the jet trainer into a Combat-Ready platform. The aircraft is upgraded with indigenously designed avionics hardware, software and system architecture enhancing operational role from a trainer aircraft into a Combat-ready platform with improved quality and depth of training by Large Force Engagement (LFE) tactics through Electronic Virtual Training System (EVTS).
Hawk-i is capable of delivering precision Munitions including Air to Ground and close combat weapons, self defence capabilities through Electronic Warfare (EW) systems, digital map generator and operational reliability through new Dual Hot stand-by Mission Computer Avionics architecture supported by indigenous high accuracy and high Altitude Radio Altimeter, IFF MKXII, Data Transfer system, CMDS and RWR. The aircraft was flown during 2017 Aero India at Bangalore with lot of appreciation from users. The integration of indigenous HUD, RLG based INS and Anti Airfield Missile is in advance stage.
Mr. Ashok Kumar Gupta, Secretary (Defence Production), outlined the contributions made by Defence PSUS. Mr. T. Suvarna Raju, CMD, HAL in his welcome address said maintaining its excellent track record HAL today has come-up with two new products that would strengthen India’s defence services.
These air assets, which the air force has been seeking for several years, promise to boost the preparedness status of the force across its operational horizon. Also, the eventual induction of these air assets will help the country in propelling forward with its mission to attain self reliance in defence equipment manufacturing.