Saturday, December 23, 2017

HAL to build combat choppers worth Rs 3,465 crore

New Delhi: On Friday, the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Army initiated the purchase of 15 indigenously designed and built Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) from Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). The IAF will take ten helicopters, and the army five.

Business Standard learns from HAL sources that the cost of each LCH will be Rs 231 crore, putting the overall cost of the order at Rs 3,465 crore.

These “limited series production” LCHs would be built in Bengaluru, at a facility that former defence minister Arun Jaitley inaugurated in August. Subsequently, HAL will set up a large-scale manufacturing facility in Tumkur to build the 114 LCHs the army has committed to buying, and the 65 the IAF has said it will take.

The cost of these 179 LCHs, at current prices, adds up to Rs 41,350 crore.

The need for a combat helicopter became apparent during the Kargil conflict, when Indian soldiers had to attack enemy position on 15,000 feet-high mountains with little fire support, except from long-range artillery guns and rockets. It was decided then to develop an attack helicopter to support high-altitude operations.

This resulted in the LCH, a 5.5-tonne helicopter powered by two Shakti engines, custom-developed by French engine maker, Turbomeca, to drive helicopters up to altitudes above 6,000 metres or 20,000 feet.
23/12/17 Ajai Shukla/Business Standard