Military

Thales to supply 70 mm rocket launchers for Indian attack helicopters

By Frank Wolfe | February 23, 2019
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An Indian Air Force Light Combat Helicopter

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has awarded Thales a contract to supply 135 70 mm rocket launchers for 33 Indian Army and Indian Air Force attack helicopters--18 HAL Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopters and 15 Light Combat Helicopters (LCH), Thales said on Feb. 21.

Last year, the Thales' rocket launcher tested and qualified for deployment on the LCH. The company said that it produces the rocket launchers using composites to eliminate corrosion and and make the launchers 50 percent lighter than metal launchers.

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India's Defense Acquisition Council recently approved the procurement of the first 15 LCHs--10 for the IAF and five for the Indian Army. HAL said that the LCH "is the only attack helicopter in the world capable of operating at altitudes as high as Siachen glacier."

"The Indian armed forces are involved in a wide range of deployments in remote theaters, conducting operations beyond the scope of traditional homeland defense," Thales said. "For this reason, they need to round out their available resources with a view to boosting their tactical capability."

Emmanuel de Roquefeuil, the director of Thales in India, said in a statement that the contract "opens up new opportunities for the supply of equipment to the Indian armed forces, and consolidates Thales’s position in the Indian market."

"With this, helicopter crews will see a significant improvement in their tactical capabilities during missions," he said.

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