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Friday, January 13, 2012

LCH Versus ZW-19

It is not the Ministry of Defence-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) that has screwed up, but it is the Indian Air Force (IAF) that has deliberately sabotaged the development of what was originally envisaged as India’s homegrown light attack helicopter (LAH) by, on one hand, vehemently opposing the induction of such a weapons platform by the Indian Army’s Aviation Corps (AAC), and on the other by drafting a ridiculous ASQR that has now permanently changed the helicopter’s design/performance parameters from those of a LAH to those for a Light Combat Helicopter (LCH). The MoD-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), which has been associated with the tedious and long-drawn process of designing, developing and series-producing the ‘Dhruv’ advanced light helicopter, had all along believed that the ‘Dhruv’ 5-tonne multi-role light medium twin-engined design does not represent a zero-sum game, that it is possible to wrap a slim, tandem-seat fuselage around the existing twin-engined powerplant, transmission and rotor systems of this proven helicopter and derive two distinct derivatives: a multi-task LAH; and a single-engined armed aeroscout-cum light utility machine (LOH/LUH) capable of operating in the plains (for operating in tandem with fast-moving mechanised and armoured formations) and over jungle terrain in support of special operations forces, and also taking part in combat search-and-rescue operations. Yet, since early 2003, the IAF kept insisting that the AAC’s requirement for LAHs was unjustifiable (since the IAF already operated a fleet of attack helicopters like the Mi-35P and Mi-25) and its views ultimately prevailed over the MoD, which ruled that not only would the LAH option be axed in favour of the LCH, but the AAC’s existing and projected fleets of LOHs would have to synchronise their flight operations with the IAF’s existing and projected attack helicopter fleets. When Army HQ protested to the MoD, a face-saving compromise was arrived at, this being that the AAC was authorised to acquire 76 ‘Dhruv Mk4’/’Rudra’ helicopter gunships that would, in essence, entail the needless modification of the ‘Dhruv’ utility helicopter into an armed machine capable of housing no more than four anti-armour guided-missiles (this being the DRDO HELINA, which remains elusive till this day and may eventually be replaced by either the Spike-ER from RAFAEL of Israel, or the PARS-3LR from MBDA), or an alternate armaments package comprising a chin-mounted 20mm THL-20 cannon supplied by Nexter Systems, twin rocket pods housing 2.75-inch rockets supplied by Belgium’s FZ, and four Mistral ATAM air-to-air missiles from MBDA. Needless to say, the decision to develop the ‘Rudra’ was not only financially unwise, but it is also unlikely to translate into any operational gains for the Army. All this could have been easily avoided had the MoD mandated that both the Army and IAF HQs formulate a joint services staff requirement (JSQR) for HAL to develop two tandem-seat attack helicopter variants: the LAH for the AAC and LCH for the IAF.    
The LCH programme took off on October 3, 2006 when the MoD sanctioned a sum of Rs.376.67 crores for HAL to design and develop the LCH over a 24-month period. Powered by twin Ardiden 1H (1,200shp TM333-2C2 Shakti) engines, the LCH was then envisaged as a 2.5-tonne machine with a service service of 6km (19,685 feet), and which would take off from altitudes of 3km (9,800 feet), loiter and operate at altitudes of up to 5km (16,400 feet), and engage targets like unmanned aerial systems (UAS) that are cruising at altitudes of up to 6.5km (21,300 feet). The ASQR originally prepared by the IAF for the LCH states that the helicopter’s HOGE ought to be 3,500 metres, or 11,482.939 feet when it has an all-up weight of 5 tonnes. The LCH’s first prototype made its maiden flight on March 29, 2010 and two more prototypes have since been fabricated for flight certification purposes. Like the ‘Dhruv’, the LCH too adheres to the following FAR/MILSPEC standards:
·         US Army Aeronautical Design Standard-33E (ADS-33E)
·         Flaw-Tolerant Rotor System: FAR/JAR 29.571, AM 29-28
·         Crashworthy Fuel System: FAR/JAR 29.952, AM 29-35
·        Flaw-Tolerant Drive Train with Over Torque Certification: FAR/JAR 29.952, AM 29-28
·         Turbine Burst Protection: FAR/JAR 29.901, AM 29-36
·         Composite Spar Main & Tail Rotor Blades with Lightning Strike Protection: FAR/JAR 1309(h), AM 29-40
·         Engine Compartment Fire Protection: FAR/JAR 29.1193
·         Redundant Hydraulics & Flaw Tolerant Flight Controls: FAR/JAR 29.571, AM 29-28
·         Aircraft-Wide Bird Strike Protection: FAR/JAR 29.631, AM 29-40
·         Crashworthiness Standard: NATO’s MIL-STD-1290
·         Crashworthy Seats Conforming to MIL-STD-1472B
·         Cockpit Instrumentation Lighting Conforming to MIL-STD-85762A
·         Avionics Databus: MIL-STD-1553B or ARINC-429
·         Autopilot Accuracy: MIL-F-9490D
·         Embedded MIL-STD-188-141B ALE Link Protection
·         Embedded MIL-STD-188-110B data modem
To make the LCH a survivable platform, HAL has designed its own impact absorbing landing gear and will improve on the Dhruv ALH’s ballistic tolerance with up to 100kg of composite-/ceramics-based modular armour, whose positioning is based on an IAF study of the areas most likely to suffer bullet damage. The tandem-seat cockpits will each have twin side-by-side AMLCDs, will be NVG-compatible, will provide NBC protection to the crew, and will have a ‘JedEyes’ helmet-mounted targetting system co-developed by HAL and Israel’s Elbit Systems. The LCH’s armaments suite will comprise a THL-20 chin-mounted turret containing a 20mm Nexter Systems-built M-621 gun firing at a rate of 800 rounds per minute, four stub-wing-mounted Forges de Zeebrugge-built LAU-FZ-231 launchers carrying 2.75-inch rockets, or a combination of four MBDA-built Mistral ATAM air-to-air missiles and twin 2.75-inch rocket launchers, or a combination of twin 2.75-inch rocket launchers and four 6km-range anti-armour guided-missiles (HELINA, or PARS-3LR or Spike-ER). A nose-mounted FLIR pod produced by the MoD-owned Bharat Electronics Ltd will be used for for target acquisition. The LCH’s four-axis auto-hover and digital automatic flight control system have been developed in-house, while the DRDO’s Bangalore-based Defence Avionics Research Establishment (DARE) is developing the defensive aids suite, which includes a combined radar/laser warning system (this being SaabTech’s MILDS AR-60V2) and Bharat Dynamics Ltd-developed countermeasures dispensers. DARE has also developed in-house the digital mission computer and pylon interface boxes. The flight control actuator system has been co-developed by HAL and the UK-based APPH. The SAGEM subsidiary of France’s SAFRAN Group, which has had a presence in India since the 1960s, has supplied the piloting inertial reference system (APIRS), more than 100 of which are already on board the Dhruv ALH. The APIRS uses new-generation inertial technologies like fibre-optic gyroscope (FOG) and silicon accelerometer. Other SAGEM-supplied items on board are the digital autopilot (which is also on the ‘Dhruv’), and the Sigma-95L RLG-INS. SAGEM is also offering its family of integrated cockpit display systems (ICDS) for the LCH.
Elbit Systems, which in May 2007 joined forces with HAL and MerlinHawk Associates Pvt Ltd to create HALBIT Avionics Pvt Ltd (HALBIT) as an India-based joint venture company, is presently proposing four items for the LCH: integrated AMLCD-based glass cockpit, the 25kg C-Music directional infra-red countermeasures (DIRCM) suite, Tadiran SDR-7200AR multi-bandwidth software-defined radio, and the QuadEye panoramic night vision goggle. The IAF has also demanded that the LCH be equipped with anti-missile defence system like BAE Systems’ ‘Boldstroke’, which uses modular open-system architecture and non-proprietary standard interfaces that support interchangeability, technology insertion, and diminishing manufacturing sources resolution. It allows for direct and fibre-coupling between the laser and pointer/tracker, providing installation flexibility to meet the size, weight, and power requirements of both light and heavy rotary-winged platforms. It is much lighter, has fewer moving optical parts and uses mirrors instead of a physical ‘light pipe’ to shoot its laser. The entire unit is housed in one box. A helicopter with ‘Boldstroke’ mounted on either side would have 360 degrees of assured protection from IR-guided anti-aircraft missiles.
Despite all these, as of now, the IAF has made only a verbal commitment to procure 65 LCHs, and no firm contract exists to translate this assurance into reality. This then brings us to the inherent design/performance flaws of the LCH, especially when comparing it with the Harbin ZW-19 attack helicopter. Firstly, there is the issue of optimising the LCH for its primary function, which is to ensure air defence against UAVs and slow-moving aircraft, be it at any altitude. If that’s what the IAF desires, then why employ a twin-engined tandem-seat LCH? Why can’t a single-engined LOH/LUH like Eurocopter’s AS.550C3 Fennec, armed with a THALES-built FLIR turret and a solitary 20mm gun-pod from Nexter Systems, which has already flown to altitudes of 22,000 feet, be tasked with such a mission? Secondly, if the LCH is tasked with a hunter-killer mission, i.e. seeking out and destroying UAVs, then can this be done with only a solitary nose-mounted FLIR sensor? Wouldn’t it be much better if instead of the FLIR sensor, a nose-mounted search radar capable of broad area surveillance was mounted on the LCH’s nose, and the FLIR turret be mast-mounted atop the main rotor hub purely for optronic fire-direction purposes? A nose-mounted search radar is also a prerequisite for the LCH to engage in anti-tank warfare from standoff distances that would keep the LCH away from hostile VSHORADS/MANPADS. In fact, this is exactly what AVIC has achieved with the ZW-19. Then there’s the peculiarly engineered rear landing gear attached midway to the LCH’s tail section, which is outright dangerous when the LCH is flying nap-of-the-earth flight profiles over urban or jungle terrain. Another design compromise concerns the LCH’s twin stub-wing armament booms, each of which can carry only two ATGMs, instead of an appreciable four (totalling eight ATGMs, as is the case with the ZW-19). And last but not the least, the ZW-19 comes equipped with a weight-saving fly-by-wire flight control system, while the LCH does not.  
In conclusion, it does appear that the IAF’s ASQRs were drafted in such a manner that the LCH would be acceptable more as a platform for engaging in aerial combat—and by consequence being IAF-commanded and -operated--than for engaging hostile ground-based armoured/mechanised formations, something the AAC would have loved to get its hands on. Instead, a needless inter-services turf war has ensured that the LCH remains the sole property of the IAF and never morphes into the more-urgently needed LAH, with the AAC being forced to accept an inferior platform—the ‘Rudra’ armed with a mere four ATGMs and devoid of a nose-mounted search radar capable of detecting and engaging hostile armoured/mechanised formations from distances that are beyond the reach of hostile VSHORADS/MANPADS.—Prasun K. Sengupta


KSingh said...

Hey Prasun,

I always like how you give such an in-depth analysis and the nitty-gritty not just a vague outline as most Indian defence journalists do. However I'd like to clear a few things up- you have said the FLIR is made by BEL but I believe this idea has been scrapped and in fact the FLIR/EO pod will be an ELBIT product- I believe you have said the same in previous comments.
Also has the JedEye been confirmed as the HMDS? It would be great if it were true but I didn't realise the decision had already been made, I thought there was still a few options for this! One being the Top Owl. Could you post some more info on the JedEye as my quick search online has produced some but very brief results.

Also Is it confirmed that ELBIT are offering the QuadEye? Would the LCH then be the first helo with this piece of kit? And would the QuadEye be able to be integrated with the JedEye?

Similarly given the huge amount of community, in terms of weapon Systems, between the LCH and the ALH WSI (MK.4) Will the ALH WSI also use the JedEye and QuadEye?

Regarding the above points, not that I doubt you, but are you sure this is the kit to be integrated on the platform? As no other source has mentioned this tech is to be on the LCH.

Also according to many sources, whilst no firm order has been given as of yet, the IA is seriously interested in 114 of their own LCHs for the AAC.

And rather than seeing the ALH WSI as a compromise to placate the IA surely you can see the advantages of such a platform? They can be used in support of SOFs missions and can ferry in supplies in "hot" areas and get back out gain safely not to mention being used to support infantry/mechanised formations in war when Apaches/LCHs are tied up in heavy missions. I believe Israel has with the help of Sikorzy carried out a similar weaponisation of some IDF UH-60s.


Anonymous said...

so the most important (and probably the only major) difference between army and airforece version of lch is that army wants an lch is that - quad launcher for atgms and an on board radar.....which it is not getting as of now...

but sir can't these components be added in down the line upgrade or successive production batches...??

plus why cant army use the rudra as the armed aeoscout in conjunction with lch's plus it can also rope in armed uavs for improving the lch's combat effectiveness..

Mr. Ra 13 said...

Sir, apart from standing on the ground in which aspect can LCH be equal or better than ZW-19.

Anonymous said...

Wrt your point about "Then there’s the peculiarly engineered rear landing gear attached midway to the LCH’s tail section". I had also found this dangling bit strange but always thought that they were/would be retractable.

spanky's Blog said...

Hi Prasun,
Sorry for veering of the topic.

Today there are news report that the National Counter Terrorism Center has been approved by the CCS.

What function will NCTC assume?What will be its hierarchy wrt top IB,RAW,NTRO and MI? Most importantly will it really make any difference to India's abysmal intelligence gathering?

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To KSingh: VMT. The FLIR pod mounted on both the LCH & Rudra is the ELBIT Systems-developed COMPASS, which is being licence-assembled by BEL. And since ELBIT Systems has been roped in as the prime systems integrator )albeit officially disguised as a ‘consultant’) for the optronic fire-control systems being developed for both the LCH & Rudra, it makes perfect sense (from an interface standpoint) for the JedEyes to be selected instead of the TopOwl (which has been optimised for the fire-control systems & optronic sights supplied by THALES & SAGEM). The Quadeye on the other hand is being offered for the Dhruv Mk3s, Mi-17V-5 and the to-be-selected LUHs. The QuadEye Panoramic Night Vision Goggle (PNVG), with its advanced features and performance, allows pilots to safely accomplish difficult nighttime missions. It provides an unprecedented 100o Field of View (FoV) with a central 40o binocular FoV plus monocular vision of an additional 26o to either side. This extended view is almost similar to the normal eye’s peripheral vision and reduces the need and degree to which panning the head is required when wearing goggles. QuadEye also provides built-in displays and a debrief camera.
For both the Rudra and LCH, the JedEyes will suffice. No one talks about all this simply because no one ever bothers to ask any questions about systems integration & related interfaces concerning various avionics components. If you were to check up any blog run by any India-based journalist/reporter, you will realise this reality as well. The same goes for the Tejas MRCA. No one to my knowledge so far has highlighted the systems integration challenges & achievement milestones, & therefore issues like the MMR’s interfaces with various PGMs, and inferfaces between the Dash Mk3 HUD & AAMs like the R-73E & Python-5 remain untouched issues, except in this blog. Additionally, the DRDO is extremely reluctant to publisise the role played by such foreign ‘consultants’, fearing that this may cause further damage to the often touted ‘indigenisation’ tag. Same goes for the systems integration for the naval combat management systems on board warships built by the MoD-owned shipyards.
The AAC remains interested in the LAH version of the LCH, but not the LCH itself. The AAC wants to have LAHs that can act independently in engaging hostile armoured/mechanised formations, like the French Army’s ALAT does. The AAC instead has been forced to accept the ‘Rudra’, which will have no independent hunter-killer capability and will instead be deployed only as a supporting aerial fire-assault element along with the Indian Army’s motorised and mechanised formations, i.e. pretty much like the to-be-selected single-engined LOHs that will be acting as the eyes of the Army’s armoured/mechanised forces. What the AAC has always wanted in large numbers is a twin-engined LAH equipped with at least 10 ATGMs (something like the A-129 Mangusta), single-engined armed LOHs, plus the twin-engined Dhruv Mk3 as a battlefield aerial logistics/CASEVAC platform and also as a battlefield surveillance platform that’s equipped with a belly-mounted synthetic aperture radar (which are available with AESA antennae from both Israel & Italy).

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@12.43PM & Mr.RA 13: Firstly, the Indian Army has not yet gone on record for expressing its satisfaction with the LCH. And it is not only the deficient ATGM payload, but also the hunter-killer capability remains absent on the LCH & ‘Rudra’. On the ZW-19, instead, there is provision for both a nose-mounted millimetric-wave search radar and a mast-mounted optronic sensor for fire-control. Consequently, as I’ve explained above, IF a decision is taken in future to modify the IAF-centric LCH into an Army-centric LAH, then and only then will HAL be able to deliver a top-of-the-line attack helicopter with great export potential. If given the go-ahead by the MoD, an LAH prototype could be developed within a two-year period and equipped with all the necessary mission sensors, which will have to be outsourced from abroad.

To Spanky’s Blog: The NCTC will be like the US Dept of Homeland Security and make extensive use of and update the databases of NATGRID. But it will not be able to overcome the existing ‘attitude problem’ obstacles like inter-agency turf wars and one-upmanship. Existing mindsets take a long time to change. When it comes to information-gathering, it is no use having the required tools if the tools are not put to good use. Just look at how the Searcher Mk2 and Heron-1 UAVs of the Navy having been sitting it out at Porbandar for almost a year now and still being unable to undertake nighttime coastal surveillance due to the Airports Authority of India’s inability to accord nighttime airspace navigation clearance!

sbm said...

Prasun, thanks for all this information.

The question is not therefore the ability of HAL to deliver this product but whether it will be allowed to develop the product into achieving its true potential

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To SBM: You're spot on! You've hit the bull's eye.

Unknown said...

Hi Prasun,

Could you tell me whether the Dhruv MK.3 that is currently being delivered to IA and has Shakti engines truly does have EO/FLIR pods as many articles have stated. As I have seen a few pics claiming to be of the MK.3 but without the EO/FLIR. Is this a case of mislabelled pics or inaccurate Desi journalism (again)?

Here is one (of the many) articles claiming the MK.3 has EO/FLIR pod:

+ thanks for replying to my earlier queries-much appreciated. However I still beleive that the IA will go for their stipulated 114 LCHs. Despite then LCH not being quite what the IA wants it will still be a HUGE boost to the AAC.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Unknown: The Dhruv Mk3s are of the same type as those in service with Ecuador. They don't have FLIR pods or any kind of radar/laser warning receivers. Therefore, such helicopters are used for rear-area aerial logistics and CASEVAC. Also, their cockpits vare not NVG-compatible. The Dhruv Mk4/Dhruv WSI/Rudra will have NVG-compatible glass cockpits, FLIR pod, RWR and missile warning systems, and will be able to carry the same weapons load as the LCH. Therefore, it doesn't make sense for the Indian Army to order LCHs to do something which the Rudra too will be able to do. Therefore, what will be a huge boost to the AAC will be two things: either the transfer of all existing IAF attack helicopters to the Army, or authorising HAL to develop the LAH variant of the LCH exclusively for the AAC.

Unknown said...

So will the MK.4 (unarmed WSI) with all the goodies except actual weapons be the new tranche IA get instead of MK.3 as well as the MK.5 (WSI) with all the weapons? as it seems, especially after Kargil, that all Helos in IA/IAF service need to have missile warning systems and counter measures as well as having NVG-compatible cockpits.

As such will the MK.4 (unarmed WSI) replace existing MK.1-2 in service (as MK.3 is a new addition unlikely to be replaced soon) as these helos are quite out of date now and have been in service for some time. Or is there a plan to upgrade them with new tech to bring them to same mark as later tranches?

Unknown said...


Can the JedEyes be used as NVGs? Or do they need to be fitted with external NVGs like QuadEyes?

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir thanks for this INFORMATIVE

But my feeling is that right now all
that we JINGO community is desperate
to KNOW is who will WIN the MMRCA

This suspense is really killing us

sbm said...

Prasun (continuing and repeating from the previous thread) - aren't the Car Nicobar's already fitted with the MicroCompass ?

That looks like the BEL made MicroCompass to me.

It is the older vessels of the Trinkat and Bangaram classes that have nothing it would seem.

Hence if the Trinkat and Bangaram can achieve <50% at 4km, the Car Nicobars would achieve a lot better than that.

KSK said...


1) Why global tender..instead of buying Spyder from Israel...did they not satisfy when bought earlier??????

2)Or Why not wait for Astra to mature and convert them into SRSAM ... is it feasible???

3)Who is most preferred of ones participating ???????

Anonymous said...

What do you think why India is ranked below chini?

Is India still developing Weapon grade fissile material to fit into smaller warheads?

Shree said...

Every one says AKULA 2 is the one we got but you say its AKULA 3 ... which is true and how do you know for sure?

Is the price 920 Million for 10 year justified?

And how significant is Akula for it armed with any cruise missiles?

And why was it received with a small ceremony?

Anonymous said...

Do you think Iran Assassinations Working?

Anonymous said...

Dont u think this article exaggerates Iranian capabilities a bit...
while i agree with 1 n 5 ...2 3 4 are doubtful..

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To SBM: The Car Nicobar-class of FACs indeed have miniCOMPASS FLIR installations and the other classes of FACs are not being retrofitted with such gyro-stabilised FLIR pods as well, as are the Sea King Mk42B/C & Ka-28PL helicopters.

To KSK: Even if global tenders are issued for additional new-generation SR-SAMs, the SpyDer-SR would easily emerge as L-1 (lowest bidder) because it has the advantage of having already supplied an earlier tranche of such SR-SAMs. The best option would be to convert the Astra BVRAAM into an SR-SAM as I had mentioned quite a few times before. Developing a totally new SR-SAM (with MBDA) makes no financial or technological sense to me.

To Anon@9.35PM: That’s because the survey has not had access to all the required info on the disassembled state of India’s strategic weapons. Therefore, the survey’s conclusions are highly suspec t. Weapons-grade fissile materials are always under production as India requires a stockpile of at least 3 metric tonnes of weapons-grade plutonium.

To Shree: I had already explained two threads ago the design differences between the Akula-2 & Akula-3. The term Akula-3 was first used in 2005 by MILITARY PARADE, a Russian military-industrial magazine endorsed by Russia’s Rosoboronexport State Corp. Ther leasing price is quite justified for a decade of operations. The SSGN will come armed with 3M54E supersonic 220km-range ASCMs & 3M14E subsonic 290km-range land-attack ASCMs.

To Anon@10.12PM: It is still early days to predict the success or failure of such a policy.

To Anon@10.15PM: I agree with you.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Unknown: The Dhruv Mk4/Rudra will be armed with either the PARS-3LR or Spike-ER, and later the HELINA, whenever it becomes available. They will not replace the Dhruv Mk3s. There’s no such thing as Dhruv Mk5. The Dhruv Mk1/2/3 will continue in service as CASEVAC platforms. They will be upgraded with NVG-compatible glass cockpits in future. There’s no need for NVGs when the JedEye is in use, since the FLIR imagery can be seen on the JedEye’s visor.

sbm said...

Prasun, isn't "are being retrofitted" rather than "are not" ?

With respect to the Car Nicobar class two questions:

1) With MicroCompass does accuracy exceed 50% at 4km ?

2) What are the 11 MGs carried by these vessels ? 2 HMGs, 2 MMGs, 2 LMGs = that's only 6 what of the other 5?

On a semi-related point, Iglas are supposed to be carried by these vessels and by the Veer, Pauk, Kora and Khukri class corvettes.

Are these solely hand-held mounts or are they on traversable launchers with some blind-fire ability ?

Thanks a lot for your responses to these somewhat inane questions

soumyadip said...

hello sir, how r u....

sorry for a complete of topic question...but couldn't help asking...

In 2002, a classified, $250 million Defense Department war game concluded that small, agile speedboats swarming a naval convoy could inflict devastating damage on more powerful warships. In that game, the Blue Team navy, representing the United States, lost 16 major warships - an aircraft carrier, cruisers and amphibious vessels - when they were sunk to the bottom of the Persian Gulf in an attack that included swarming tactics by enemy speedboats.

courtesy- Times of India....

since Pakistanis r also getting such kind of missile boats.....will they employ same they have them in such numbers so as to swarm bigger can IN warship counter such bramhos agile enough to hit such speedy and small a matter of fact do u think anti ship missiles
would be employed to hit small crafts........what is the maximum range of missiles that can be carried in such missile boats...

a lot of questions......pls try to answer them if u do not mind

thank u....

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To SBM: My mistake, there 'ARE BEING' retrofitted. With MiniCOMPASS, the firing accuracy even at nighttime exceeds 75%, as was proven during the firing trials off the A & C Islands prior to contract signature for those FLIR sensors. 11 MGs is too high a number AFAIK. 2 x HMG and 2 x MMG along with 2 x 40mm hanbdheld Milkor AGLs should more than suffice for a FAC. The Igla MANPADS are all hand-held/shoulder-launched. They're also on the Typer 877EKM & Class 209/Type 1500 SSKs.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Soumyadip: The tactic of using a swarm of agile speedboats is not only employed by the Iranians, but was first put to use by the LTTE's Sea Tigers. And it is not Pakistan that is acquiring such speedboats now, but the Indian Navy, which is acquiring such speedboats for the Sagar Prahari Bal from SOLAS Marine of Sri Lanka. What pakistan is acquiring are FAC-Ms armed with C-802A subponic anti-ship cruise missiles. As for how to destroy the swarming speedboats, there's a lot India can learn from the Sri Lanka Navy. While detecting such speedboats is not an issue, engaging them with a combination of 40mm heavy machine guns and 40mm automatic grenade launchers is one possibility. Another is by early detection of of such speedboats by shipborne UAVs (while these boats are at least 20nm away) so that shipborne helicopters armed with heavy machine guns or even 20mm gun pods can engage them. In case the speedboats have on-board MANPADS/shoulder-launched VSDHORADS,then the only viable way of destroying them will be with laser-guided 2.75-inch rockets (like the DAGR from Lockheed Martin) which can be fired from a safe standoff distance.

Anonymous said...

Prasun, speculation regarding the MMRCA is reaching fever pitch with claims of 'meetings' at the MOD by thrown around by all and sundry. When can we expect some clarity on this situation and would this sort of mud-slinging continue during the negotiation phase which follows.

Is there any veracity to the claims that the Typhoon is L1

sbm said...

Are the FACs of the Indian navy carrying the Mikors ?

I can tell you what I've seen in various photos - 2 MMG on each side of the stern - 1 HMG on the Bridge roof - 1 more stern - 2 LMG mounts on Bridge.

Why is there no attempt to give a blind-fire capability on the Koras etc for the Iglas ?

Anonymous said...

Then there’s the peculiarly engineered rear landing gear attached midway to the LCH’s tail section, which is outright dangerous when the LCH is flying nap-of-the-earth flight profiles over urban or jungle terrain

This is a stoopid argument.

The rear landing gear is as low as it is on any helicopter. The high tail boom of the LCH makes it longer but it is no more dangerous than an Apache, for instance.

Or are you saying that the LCH flies with a nose-up attitude at all times?

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To SBM: The Milkors are now standard issue for the DAC's crew complement. Regarding the Iglas, the Djigit twin-launchers were available only from 2007, & blind-fire capability would only have been possible had a SADRAL-type VSHORADS been acquired.

To Anon@3.52AM: The Apache's tail-boom is supported by a landing gear fitment at the tail-end of the boom & directly below the tail-rotor hub. The LCH's rear landing gear's positioning smack in the middle of the tail boom is therefore not the same as the rear landing gear arrangement of the Apache. As for the LCH flying at a nose-up attitude, how else then will it be able to operate at altitudes of up to 16,400 feet and engage targets like unmanned aerial systems that are cruising at altitudes of up to 21,300 feet?

sbm said...

As to the Mikors a certain country with a PM whose ancestry is from Bhelpur, Bihar has also obtained 10.

As to the SAMs - don't the Veers and Khukri/Koras use a quad SA-N-5 launcher as I have seen photos of some kind of fixed trainable launcher in at least 1 book on the Indian Navy ?

Unknown said...

Do you think it is likely that HAL will accept Raytheon's offer and integrate the A2A Stinger on the LCH/RUDRA? And could you analyse what kind of impact this would have on the program/platform

sbm said...

As a correction, the word should be Bhelupur.

Also, this is a photo of the INS Tarasa - Trinkat class.

What is that on the bridge roof ? It looks to me like some kind of Electro-Optical device.

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun,

I need to ask you about IA's Surface to air contracts. How many different contracts are there ?

Are there plans to induct SAMs in every segment like VSHORAD, SRSAM, QRSAM, MRSAM, LRSAM ?

I heard IA will be inducting 8 regiments in total of SRSAM, when is this huge contract gonna be signed ?

I heard MBDA is pitching Maetri SAM in two such contracts, how is the progress ?

Apart from this its now confirmed that IA is also gonna purchase David Sling and Iron Dome missile interceptor systems and they are negotiating with Israelis. How big is this contract and when can we expect the signing of this contract ?

Can LCH carry 8 ATGMs ? I mean is it powerful enough to carry more weapons including nose-mounted search radar ?

If IA gets the permission to induct LCH and HAL develops an IA version, then how many do you think IA is gonna induct ? Also if IA inducts LCH with its present features how many then ?

Also i want to add this that aftre the first flight of second LCH prototype IAF suggested few changes and rear landing gear is gonna change in the last and the final prototype.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

The Koras & tarantul-1s on display during the last PFR did not show any signs of having SA-N-5 SAM launchers. The Trinket-class FACs were oeriginally fitted with a BEL-made EO fire-director that contained just a TV-based day sight. Regarding the PM from Bhelapur, Bihar, maybe the person you're referring to appears in this photo:

To Unknown: The air-to-air Stingers are being offered for the AH-64D Apache, and not for the Rudra or LCH, for which MBDA's Mistral ATAM has already been selected.

To Anon@11.31AM: No David's Sling or Iron Dome will be procured by anyone in India. The LCH & Rudra presently can carry only four ATGMs. The problem is not the helicopters' powerplant or fuselage design, but that of the twin stub-wings, which require further strengthening and size increases if eight ATGMs are to be carried.

Unknown said...

Hey, would you happen to know why there wasn't a Yudh Abhays 2011? The yearly Indo-US army ex held in both countries in a rotational basis. There was a Yudh Abhays in 2010 in Alaska but AFAIK no such ex in 2011 in India (logically where it should have been). I am aware there was a joint US/India SOFs ex in 2011 held in the US with members of 4PARA (SF) participating I dont believe this had anythig to do with the Yudh Abhays series.

Mr. Ra 13 said...

On what understanding LCH & Rudra were designed to carry only four ATGMs and not eight.

Anonymous said...

Prasun any idea on who is selected for Combat System for the seven project 17A frigates.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Unknown: The Yudh Abhays series varies from time to time and as long as there's one exercise held every year in any country's territory, the joint exercise schedules finalised by the Indian MoD and the US CINCPAC HQ are considered as being adhered to.

To Mr.RA 13: For the LCH the answer lies in the poster of the LCH posted above, which clearly shows that the LCH's primary role will be to shoot down UAVs, and its least important role will be as an anti-tank weapon, as per the IAF's ASQRs. For the Rudra, the principal limitation is the design of the weapons-carrying attachments (not exactly like the LCH's stub-wings) on each side of the helicopter's fuselage, which allows for fitment of only two ATGMs per attachment, thus totalling in four ATGMs (two per attachment). Had a strengthened pair of stub-wings been designed for the Rudra, then up to eight ATGMs could have been carried.

To Anon@9.09PM: The combat management system for the seven Project 17A FFGs will be almost the same as those on board the Project 17 FFGs, minus those elements meant for the Russia-origin weapons, since the principal sensors and weapons package on board the Project 17A FFGs will include the EL/M-2248 MF-STAR radar, Barak-2 MR-SAMs & BrahMos ASCMs. Therefore, the combat managemewnt system of the Project 17A will be more similar (in terms of architecture) to what's on board the Project 15A Kolkata-class DDG.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Mr.RA 13: The LCH should also do away with the tricycle undercarriage and instead adopt the twin skids configuration that exists on the Rudra/Dhruv Mk4. Just try to compare the LCH with the Bell AH-1Z Viper ( and you’ll see where the LCH needs re-designing/re-engineering.

Mr. Ra 13 said...

The BELL AH-1Z Zulu has 25% more power than the LCH and it must be the latest design, so it had more facility to go for the multi mission operational requirements from the very conception. I think LCH had a humble objective than the Zulu.

vz said...

prasun. what is the production capacity of HAL for ALH-Rudra and LCH.?