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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Combat chopper programme on right flightpath: HAL

A rare grab of LCH prototypes flying together. Photo: HAL HC
By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Guruvayoor: Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) said on Friday that it has completed development flights on two prototypes of Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), towards basic system checks, air inlet survey and performance. Test flights for performance, handling qualities and measurement of loads have also been carried out at Bangalore and Chennai. “The sea-level trials carried out at Chennai were as per the script and the baseline reference data has been acquired. Towards complying crashworthy requirements, landing gear drop tests have been completed satisfactorily. Breakaway fuselage has been built and limit-load testing has been completed successfully,” HAL chairman R K Tyagi told Express.
When asked about the feedback from prototype flight testing, Tyagi said that various design improvements have been implemented to fine tune handling qualities, speed and vibration. “Further flight testing is under progress towards development and certification of basic systems. So, far both LCH technology demonstrators (TD-1 & TD-2) have completed 85 and 83 flights respectively,” Tyagi said.
To a query regarding the technology challenges being faced by HAL towards developing LCH, HAL chairman said that currently his team is focusing on validating design objectives, based on flight tests. “Based on the flight test results, necessary design improvements are being made. We haven’t faced any major technical problems so far,” he claimed. The LCH production variants are planned during the year 2015-16.
HAL plans to build the third prototype this year, incorporating all improvements. The integration of indigenous cockpit display system (Integrated Architecture and Display System), mission sensors and weapon systems are planned towards initial operational clearance (IOC) of LCH. “That’s the focus right now to get the IOC in place,” Tyagi added. HAL is yet to name the beast, but would do so soon, in consultation with its customer.
During the upcoming Aero India 2013, the LCH TD-2 (in camouflaged colours) will be at the static display area, while TD-1 will be doing the flying duties for HAL.
Copyright@The New Indian Express

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