Bangalore: This is the light combat helicopter, India's first indigenously made attack gunship. This Aero Show is the first time it's been shown off to the world media. It's a rare machine, one that can fly and attack even at the heights of Siachen Glacier.
Wing Commander Unni Pillai, Chief Test Pilot, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited said, "The need for such a craft was first felt in Kargil. None of the copters we had could fly at such heights. So we decided to design and build our own machine for our unique needs."
Flight Engineer, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Wing Commander KR Ajayaraj said, "This is the only machine that can fly from sea level to more than six kilometers height. Operates between -30 to 55 degrees centigrade. Is very hard to find a machine that operates across such wide ranges of conditions."
The Light Combat Helicopter or LCH does what fighter jets can't. Hover over and identify camouflaged tanks and bunkers before destroying them. It's much lighter than international counterparts, is hard to spot on the radar and packs deadly firepower.
Wing Commander Unni Pillai, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited said, "Feel tremendous pride in flying something that was made in India. Only 3 or four countries have the capacity to produce gunships. We are one of them. That makes me proud."
Two pilots control the LCH, one to navigate, the other to fire weapons. It can fly at night and transmit war zone videos to its base station. Plus, it's extremely agile in the air.
The LCH is another proud demonstration of India's confidence in designing our own defence hardware. When it is handed over to the army in 2013, it'll strike terror into the hearts of anyone who tries to attack us in the Himalayas.