Panji: After the successful high altitude trials of the Light Combat helicopter (LCH) at Leh forward operating base in September, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is now working on integrating the weapons suite on the indigenous light combat helicopter.
HAL has started limited series production and intends to manufacture five LCH helicopters."LCH is ready, we are integrating its weapons, we tried rockets and it was good, we need to try missiles ATGM - anti-tank guided missile, (these) are the ones which we are integrating and we just have to demonstrate that," chairman HAL Suvarna Raju said.
HAL carried out hot and high-altitude trials of the third prototype of the indigenously developed attack chopper with the participation of pilots from the Indian Air Force and Army.
"We have launched a limited series production, with a confidence and hope that we get definite orders on this. We have also inquiries on this platform from other countries, and so we will start making five helicopters this year," Raju said.
The chairman went on to add that the union government had given basic sanction for 173 helicopters for the Indian Armed Forces. "It has to turn into a contract between the Services and HAL," Raju stated.
The LCH made its maiden flight in May 2010 and has been developed after the Indian Armed Forces felt a strong lack of an attack helicopter during the 1999 Kargil War. The LCH is a derivative of the HAL Dhruv helicopter, and has been primarily designed for high-altitude warfare.
Raju also said that the department of public enterprises had recently informed HAL to prepare for disinvestment of 10% of the shares.
"We are preparing. It is a continuous process. As and when certain clearances are given to us and the ministry decides we will go ahead. The government has bought back 25% of its shares that is about 6,000 crores, which we paid as of March 31, 2016," Raju said.