IAF chief Bhadauria flies Light Combat Helicopter over Bengaluru

Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria flew the home-grown Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) over this aerospace city for an hour, an official said on Friday.

“Bhadauria flew the twin-seater LCH for a hour, taking off around noon from our airport in the city’s eastern suburb, with our deputy chief test pilot Wing Commander (Retd) S.P. John,” a Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) official told IANS here.

The Air Chief, who is in the city to unveil the 59th annual conference of the Indian Society of Aerospace Medicine, undertook the sortie in the HAL-made LCH for the first time, as a co-pilot, dressed in a fighter pilot suit.

Designed and developed by the city-based state-run defence behemoth (HAL), LCH is the world’s multi-role lightest attack helicopter, with a highest flight ceiling.

“The LCH has been certified by the relevant agency for induction into the IAF and the Indian Army soon,” said the official.

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) had approved the proposal for initial batch of 15 LCHs.

The IAF issued Request for Proposal (RFP) for 15 limited series production of the helicopter, including 5 for the Army.

Bhadauria, who took over as the Indian Air Force (IAF) in September 2019, also flew the HAL-made Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas on May 27, 2020 when it was inducted into the IAF’s 18 Squadron (Flying Bullets) at the Sulur air base near Coimbatore in the neigbhouring Tamil Nadu state.