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Hindustan Aeronautics Conducts First Successful Helicopter Air-to-Air Missile Test in India

By Frank Wolfe | January 18, 2019
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The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Light Combat Helicopter  (LCH) recently "achieved a unique milestone" in the successful firing of an air-to-air missile on a moving aerial target, HAL said on Jan. 17.

Shri Madhavan, the chairman and managing director of HAL, said in a statement that the firing marks the first time in India that a helicopter has performed an air-to-air missile engagement.

"None of the helicopters with the military services in the country has demonstrated such a capability," HAL said. "With this, LCH has successfully completed all weapon integration tests and is ready for operational induction."

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During the recent tests at the integrated test range at Chandipur, Odisha, Indian Air Force test pilots destroyed the aerial target, according to HAL.

Other weapons tested on the Light Combat Helicopter last year include a 20 mm Turret gun and 70 mm rockets.

"Equipped with helmet-mounted sight and a forward looking infrared sighting system, LCH pilots can now detect and destroy any target on ground or in the air," HAL said. "Using these sights, pilots can now launch a missile onto any target without having to turn the helicopter. The fire-and-forget missile is effective against all types of aerial threat, including UAVs and microlight aircraft. Capable of operating from dispersed locations and flying at ultra low levels, LCH can now effectively provide a protective umbrella from all aerial threats."

India's Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) has approved the procurement of the first 15 LCHs — 10 for the air force and five for the Indian army.

"LCH is the only attack helicopter in the world capable of operating at altitudes as high as Siachen glacier," HAL said.

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