rohitvats wrote:- In both of the above areas, we will see massive concentration of armor. Between the two armies, each sector could witness ~1,000 tanks deployed.
- So, long story short, don't underestimate the importance of a heavy attack helicopter in plains.
I think your point about the heavy hitter requirement is well taken, but if you don't mind, I will probe a bit on this for feedback. Specifically, I would like for us to quantify what we mean by a heavy attack helo versus a light one. I think this quantification is sorely missing (at least I haven't seen one from the IA/IAF AFAIK).
In my mind, I interpret a heavy attack helo to have the following characteristics in a high-density armor battlefield:
: fire-and-forget weapons like the Hellfire (Nag also qualifies?). Preferably connected to a robust battlefield fire-control-system that can track multiple targets through the clutter. This FCS also enables rapid-release of weapons to ensure survival of the helo as well as causing higher density damage (per unit time to sow chaos on the enemy) than a single-release system. The Longbow FCS certainly qualifies.
: Carry as many of the above weapons in a single flight as possible to make the FCS worthwhile. The Apache can carry 16 Hellfires in one go. The LCH is not currently configured to carry so many.
: enough internal fuel to carry above systems and weapons over the required range to the battlefield; have the ability to loiter until release of all weapons on board is achieved and then make the return trip back for rearming.
: Ability to withstand small arms and other direct fire; ECM for higher tier anti-air weapons.
Do you agree with this list? Are we missing something here for a heavy-attack qualification?
I deliberately left out networking in this list because I would like to argue that networking is equally useful for both light and heavy attack helos. So if the Apache has networking with other Apaches, and LCH does not have a similar capability, then this needs to be rectified in the LCH.
In any case, if the above list is correct, then what we are really arguing for here is the ability to carry sixteen fire-and-forget Hellfire missiles coupled to the Longbow radar system. I will address the range and armor question separately.
The LCH can be readily configured into an HCH-mod by increasing the payload capacity on the pylons to 16 Hellfires/Nag. The HELINA is already designed to be carried in a quad-pylon, as seen here:
And the LCH already has four hardpoints (two on each pylon) to support a total of 16 Hellfires/HELINA. If it needs structural strengthening, then that is achievable by making an HCH variant of the LCH with extra pylon structural support. Question:
Does this mean that the key differentiator between the Apache and the LCH is the Longbow system? Hypothetically speaking, if the LCH carried the Longbow and the 16 missiles in an HCH format, would it meet the operational requirements of the IA/IAF?