India joins elite league of countries with LCH's successful inaugural test run

      With the successful first test flight of the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) on Sunday here, India has joined the elite club of countries having the capability to produce advance fighter choppers. The LCH designed, developed and manufactured by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited made its first public appearance at the HAL Airport , marking India 's sturdy progress in development of combat helicopters, all by itself. As the LCH, escorted by two Dhruv choppers, which has also been developed by the HAL, soared into the sky and swiftly approached the sitting area, which was filled with people and dignitaries, a sense of 'proud' inadvertently soaked in amongst each and every people present there to witness the historic moment. The LCH and the two Dhruvs flew over the sitting area in an " India " formation one over another before the three disembarked into three different directions. The LCH, which has been developed on the same platform as that of the Dhruv, then came down sharply from amidst the clouds and hovered over a particular place before showcasing its low radius turning capability at a high speed. The LCH, due to its hingless rotor, can also be maneuvered backwards, which is an important feature considering its combative role. It can hit a target six kilometers away with utmost precision both the ground and in air. Talking to ANI, Chief Test pilot Unni Pillai, who put the LCH to some rigorous and extreme maneuver tasks today, said he has flow many helicopters and other aircrafts, but not something as good, and exciting as the LCH. "It is brilliant and far more better that what I have flown till date, and it is meant for our own requirements like operating at higher altitudes," Pillai said. "I am happy that it (LCH) has taken this shape. Its handling is extremely well.I am quite happy," he said. Talking about the USP's of the LCH, Pillai said the maneuverability of the brand new combat chopper is particularly noticeable. "Most important feature of the LCH is its maneuverability. It is stable enough to provide the pilot enough time for weapon delivery i.e. firing at the enemy target. It is an ideal combination of the two," he said. Responding to a question, Pillai that with the LCH, India has announced its presence in the field with was until now was dominated by the US , Russia and some European countries. HAL chairman Ashok Nayak also described the first test run of the LCH as a great achievement not only for the HAL but also for the whole nation. When asked about the thought behind the LCH, he said the need for an advanced combat helicopter was felt right after the 1999 Kargil War. "It (LCH) is a specific combat helicopter for the armed forces. They felt the need in Kargil War. They wanted a dedicated combat aircraft," he said. Responding to a question about the time by which the LCH is likely to be ready for induction in the armed forces, Nayak said it would take at least two years. "It will take 500 flights, two years to get operational clearance, and all the weapon and ammunition system would be tested and after that it would be inducted in the airforce.We strongly believe it'll be inducted in the India Army also.

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