Indian Military Helicopters

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby Cybaru » 13 Aug 2019 21:16

rkhanna wrote:
Cybaru wrote:What does Apache bring that lch can’t?


Ordinance, Payload, Networking capability (to both fly and take cues from UAVs), Longbow Radar -

From what I have understood (speaking to IA folks) the "grand plan" is for the Apache to lead composite rotary packages of LCH and Rudra's with each one playing a role with the Apache as the QB.

In the mountains the LCH will be the primary CAS and offensive punch of the Infantry.

its not a mercedes vs analogy. Its a TANK vs LSV anology.


What is LSV ??

Networking Capability? Will they be disseminating the picture to LCH?

Payload - Sure, you can carry more, but how many LCH can you buy for the price of one AH 64? Isn't the total payload for $ more for LCH.
- Can you really deliver the payload at heights?

Ordinance - Sure, you have more variety - but we have to stock up and those should be integrated with LCH too and eventually will for interoperability. What is special about the Apache in terms of ordinance that LCH can never have?

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby Sid » 14 Aug 2019 02:36

By this logic why even buy LCH?

Rudra or an armed Mi-17 should suffice too. They can carry more ordinance, and have EO sensor. Bonus.. they can carry troops too!! Except for Siachin, all can cover the northern high grounds.

P.S. LCH as well as Apache both have specific roles in IA. Apache is more of a force multiplier and is clearly superior with its sensor suite, armor and weapon payload.

You get what you pay for, and why not buy something if one can afford it.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby Vivek K » 14 Aug 2019 03:02

Sid wrote:By this logic why even buy LCH?

Rudra or an armed Mi-17 should suffice too. They can carry more ordinance, and have EO sensor. Bonus.. they can carry troops too!! Except for Siachin, all can cover the northern high grounds.

Eh? Lahori logic? No one questioned the first 22 Apaches by IAF! IA going for 6 when LCH is ready makes no sense (or makes perfect sense if we look at IA’s track record with domestic purchases. Additional purchase of 30 more - clearly shows that IAF is again looking at imports to build up a small incapable force than having a large capable LCH force.

You get what you pay for, and why not buy something if one can afford it.

Lets’s talk again when the sands shift and spares for these are not available.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby Sid » 14 Aug 2019 03:16

Vivek K wrote:
You get what you pay for, and why not buy something if one can afford it.

Lets’s talk again when the sands shift and spares for these are not available.


Yes, let’s talk when that may happen. IA entire aviation fleet is comprised of HAL products, and they are happy with ALH. There is no point accusing that IA is not fully on with LCH, which they are.

Until then what’s the point in comparing apples with oranges.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby Indranil » 14 Aug 2019 03:33

Let me cut short this circuitous discussion. Please provide TECHNICAL DETAILS OF capabilities that Apache brings into a warfield that 2 LCHs can't. For that capability, what is the approximate number of such helicopters required. Multiply that number by 2-3 and we should accept that as the minimum number of Apaches that we should have. And please don't speak of generalities of better ammunition, more capacity, longbow radar, better connectivity (with what?) etc. I really want to learn, but it is boring to come here and see the same things that I can learn by perusing the specifications part wiki page on Apache/LCH!

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby vivek_ahuja » 14 Aug 2019 04:07

It is utterly fascinating to see the levels of contortion that posters here will resort to try and defend the Apache purchase.

Empirically speaking, there are following factors when comparing these helos:

1. Operating altitudes: can the helo operate with sufficient payloads in the Himalayas? If not, are you purchasing a brand new helo just for the low-altitude border regions? Is there so much money lying around to afford this luxury? Will the Apache ever get used against China, with such restrictions?
2. Weapon systems: what weapon does the Apache fire that the LCH could never fire? If all that is required is the weapon, then the argument should be to incorporate the weapon to the LCH, rather than buy a completely new aircraft system to support the weapon. Not only is it cheaper to get the weapon integrated, but when the time comes where the weapon inventory has run out or the weapon has been disabled by the manufacturer at a critical time, you can simply switch to the other weapon options. What happens to the vaunted weapon if the Apaches run out of spares and the army has not bothered to integrate it with any other helo?
3. Longbow: Same arguments as above. If you really really want the longbow system, then that is what you should procure and add on top of the LCH or a WSI Dhruv.
4. Networking: As Indranil said above, you can cite networking capabilities until you are blue in the face, but if you have nothing to network with, then that is a non-sequiter. UAV networking is cited: what UAVs in India's inventory are compatible with the Apache? If they are compatible with the Apache, why are they not automatically also compatible with the LCH also?
5. Money: at a time when the IAF cannot even purchase critically needed fighters in enough numbers to make them viable, is there so much money lying around to fill every niche category of capabilities with a new aircraft in pathetic numbers? What else could have been purchased with these billions, one wonders? Perhaps several dozen LCHs?

Am I missing some other independent variable here?

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby Indranil » 14 Aug 2019 05:23

On the Longbow radar, I must add that it is a work of art. I know people who have worked on the stabilization of that system. It is the cream of the crop.

But, you can mount the radar somewhere else and get more than 80% of the use cases. We should work on developing such a radar on our helicopters. It is still a lot of work, but we can do it. We have mounted radars on the 228s, maintained much more larger and sophisticated systems on the Kamovs etc. Also, if you really want a demonstrated networking capability within the Indian scenario, look no further than our Netra. It worked flawlessly truly communicating with Indian aerial and landbased assets before, during and after Balakot. It worked well enough to the point that DRDO AWAC got a well deserved push from the users.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby vivek_ahuja » 14 Aug 2019 06:23

Fair enough on the Longbow. Rotor-mast stabilization for radar systems is indeed one of the measure of system maturity in rotorcraft. And the Longbow is the result of decades of Apache development activities.

But it still leads to some awkward questions in the Indian context (reiterating some of the same points as I made earlier):
1. Operating altitude: If the longbow cannot be lugged to high altitudes, or the Apache cannot hover OGE in high gradient terrain, what is the purpose of the longbow? Is this again a plains technology that will work only in the desert against a Pakistan target? Very very niche application for the billions of dollars, no?

2. If the Longbow is indeed what the Indian military wants, why are only a handful of the Apaches fitted out with these systems? If you are buying only a handful of helicopters for the sake of the Longbow, what not at least kit all of them out so that they can work with LCH teams as hunter-killer formats?

3. Is the Longbow only mated to work with other Apaches? If so, then this is an even bigger question, since that means the LCH is completely out of the loop for the future of IA attack helo doctrine at least in the low altitudes. If it can be mated to work with LCH, then why not just get the Longbow system for the LCH as a strategic R&D activity with the Americans?

4. If this system is so critical to the IA, why was this not put on the developmental schedule for the LCH? Or is it on the schedule now? If it is, can we not wait for it to be deployed there instead of rushing into Apache purchases?

On the issue of the networking with Netra: what prevents the LCH from receiving the same data from a Netra system? And does the Netra system really have to rely on the data from a longbow to form its tactical picture?

Curiosity: if the rotor-mast radar system is such a definitive combat advantage, any reason why we haven't seen a similar system on the U.S. Marine Corps Cobra helos? Or do they rely on the Army to go smash armored columns with their Longbows and use the Cobras only as beachhead assault support?

I could go on. But you get the idea. The Apache sale has me so baffled that I have only questions to ask and not much in the way of answers. The only answer I can think of is as what you said: the Apache sale is us paying money to the U.S. Government in exchange for their support on other strategic initiatives. I suppose if you have to pay someone money, getting something back in return isn't bad.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby vivek_ahuja » 14 Aug 2019 06:39

Looking deeper into the Apache sale for the army (6 helos) and IAF (22 helos), you get the following info on the web:

Included in the package for the 6 IA Apaches:
14 T700-GE-701D engines,
4 AN/APG-78 fire control radars (Longbow)
4 Block III radar electronic units (REU)
4 AN/APR-48B modernized radar frequency interferometers (M-RFI’s)
180 AGM-114L-3 Hellfire Longbow missiles
90 AGM-114R-3 Hellfire II missiles
200 Stinger man-portable air defense (MANPAD) missiles
7 modernized target acquisition designation sight/pilot night vision sensors (MTADS-PNVS)
14 embedded GPS inertial navigation systems (EGI)

For the 22 IAF Apaches:
11 AN/APG-78 fire control radars (Longbow)
812 AGM-114L-3 Hellfire Longbow missiles
542 AGM-114R-3 Hellfire-II missiles
245 Stinger Block I-92H missiles

A veritable arsenal of weapons. All of which would have been good news if they had been procured to arm the upcoming LCHs. Instead this entire arsenal is scheduled to go towards just 28 helicopters.

Also, only 11 of the 22 Apaches for the IAF are equipped with Longbows. 4 of the 6 IA ones are similarly equipped.

I will wait to see how these Apaches get used in the IAF. If they get parceled off to work with LCHs and WSI Dhruvs, it would be awesome. If they get treated as the cream and the LCHs are pushed into the shadows, then expect more Apache sales to follow and the LCH to go the way of the Marut. And we all know that more Apaches are on the way. The army is not going to sit with just six of them.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby Indranil » 14 Aug 2019 06:45

I am struggling with the same questions myself. I can't bring myself to justify this billions of dollars worth of buy. Yes there is a very small niche like the one you identified, but is it worth the billions? Especially, when production ready LCH is waiting for funds?

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby Indranil » 14 Aug 2019 07:04

Also, I don't know of any othe Indian platform that the Apache readily integrates with. I will also say with enough confidence that it will be much more easier to integrate LCH into the Indian mix than the black boxes that Apache would come with.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby vivek_ahuja » 14 Aug 2019 07:07

Has there been any information about the networking connectivity between the Longbow system and the equipment carried by the rest of the Indian military (UAVs, Netra, Phalcon, etc.)? In other words, do we know whether the Apache will be team player within the Indian military setup or whether it will be Apache-to-Apache networking only? If the latter is the case, it further dilutes the efficacy of the Longbow for the Indian military and demands more and more equipment purchases to expand the networking footprint of the Longbow through the IA/IAF.

Essentially the equivalent of putting all our eggs into a single basket. If that basket is taken down, so goes the entire IA offensive attack helo capabilities.

Risk mitigation options:
1. Buy more Apaches and develop a full ecosystem for them in India, gaining immunity from external spares supply and sanctions threats.
2. Buy Apache-compatible equipment and equip other systems with them, such as on the LCH.

Option (1) essentially means that the LCH is history. Also, it assumes that money is magical and appears out of thin air to afford all this. If option (2) was indeed possible, then why the heck not do it all on the LCH?

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby vivek_ahuja » 14 Aug 2019 07:40

Since everyone here was raving about one Apache being more than the sum of two LCHs, I thought to myself: "boy, I must be completely missing something!" So I went back and redid some calculations from the old articles I had written on this stuff.

One of the earlier plots I had made included the comparison between both these helo types from the standpoint of fixed payload. That is, if you wanted either helo type to carry say, 1,000 kg of payload, till what altitude could they do it before the taper-off began (and also how severe was that taper-off). You guys probably remember that article.

Today I redid those numbers a different way. Instead of focusing on a fixed payload comparison, I said to myself: what is the max payload that can be carried by each helo from sea level all the way to the Himalayas. Thinking in these terms, you get something like this:
Image

You should note here that this is pure performance analysis from first principles. So the idea that the Apache (or LCH) are going to carry 4 tonnes of payload is obviously not the practical interpretation here. Instead, that is the maximum possible payload in hover OGE that they can carry. Since you require them to be combat ROC capable (for manuevering), the real payload numbers are much lower.

Anyway, let's ignore the high-altitude stuff, since that has been done to death and you can see it here as well. The low altitude numbers are more interesting, however. At sea level, the Apache can carry roughly 15% more than an LCH.

Of course, part of the issue why this is probably a lot higher than 15% in real life is because the pylons structures on the Apache allow for much higher payloads (probably) than what the LCH could carry. I am giving that benefit of doubt here to the Apache. I don't know for sure. But sure as hell the Apache looks like it could haul some heavy stuff!

But if anything, all this points to is that if the internal structures of the LCH could be strengthened like that on the Apache, it could also carry more payload. And yes, at that point it would have the same limitations at high altitudes. But if all you need is the heavier payload capacity, why not create these brutish LCH-mods for low-altitudes instead of yet another helo type to add to the circus that exists already in unit types?

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby Rahul M » 14 Aug 2019 15:02

Hi Vivek do you still have those analyses you did on LCA and LCH on your blog ? The old blog seems to have gone down.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby rohitvats » 14 Aug 2019 16:20

Finally, some good fact based discussion on BRF.

While I'll try to add points to this discussion later, some quick points -

(1) Please remove any doubts about LCH acceptance by the army and IAF. This has been discussed few pages back as well. I had mentioned how LCH is critical for IA to achieve its Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) goal.

(2) Don't underestimate the importance of deploying Apache only in plains on western border. A powerful anti-tank helicopter capability in critical areas like Shakargarh bulge and South Punjab/North Rajasthan will go a long-long way in India achieving its military goals.

- For example, in Shakargarh bulge, Pakistan Army will deploy its powerful 1 Corps (Army Reserve North) which holds their 6th Armored Division. In addition, Infantry Divisions within 1 Corps are mechanized with M-113 variants.

- Additional armor is available by way of 2-3 independent armored brigades with their holding Corps in the area.

- While we also have availability of armor in this sector, ours is distributed. One or two Squadrons of heavy hitters like Apaches in the area can cause exponential damage to PA armor and blunt any advance or numerical advantage.

- Similar is the case in South Punjab/North Rajasthan sector.

- 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.

(3) North-East: Please don't miss the fact that second squadron of IAF Apaches will be based in Jorhat. Which clearly points to deployment along eastern front.

- And while the McMahon Line runs along ridge-lines in excess of 14,000 feet, there are enough east-west and north-south valleys which are under 10,000 feet.

- Having said that, lets give credit to IAF. It operates in the region and knows something because of which it has deployed them in North-East. I expect them to be working to a plan. Remember, the same IAF did not deploy Mi-35 in Kargil sector because it knew the limitations of the systems.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby vivek_ahuja » 14 Aug 2019 19:18

Rahul M wrote:Hi Vivek do you still have those analyses you did on LCA and LCH on your blog ? The old blog seems to have gone down.


I just looked it up online and all those articles are collated here: http://thebetacoefficient.blogspot.com

For this thread, the specific LCH article is here: http://thebetacoefficient.blogspot.com/ ... egant.html

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby Indranil » 14 Aug 2019 19:32

Rohit, nobody is questioning the use of helicopters in anti armor warfare. What Vivek and I are asking is what is it that the Apache gets us over and above what the LCH does?

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby vivek_ahuja » 14 Aug 2019 19:38

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:
1. Weapons: 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.
2. Payload: 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.
3. Range: 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.
4. Armor: 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:
Image

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?

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby rohitvats » 14 Aug 2019 21:03

Indranil wrote:Rohit, nobody is questioning the use of helicopters in anti armor warfare. What Vivek and I are asking is what is it that the Apache gets us over and above what the LCH does?


I was simply trying to amplify the fact that looking at Apache purchase from Eastern Ladakh or North-East perspective only is not the correct approach. Also, I've always maintained that Apaches were a strategic buy. We'd to spend money as quid-pro-quo for nuclear deal and Apache were one of the means. It was easy to justify the purchase as replacement for Mi-35.

Coming to Apache versus LCH, I'm my keen to understand the delta between the two. The list mentioned above to undertake comparative analysis is quite good. To it, I would only add the electro-optical sensors as well. As of now, we're focused only on Longbow.

Further, I don't think it is correct to say that a souped-up LCH is good enough to match Apache. A souped-up LCH with all the bells and whistles as Apache is no longer LCH but a dedicated medium/heavy category helicopter gunship.

We should keep comparison between as-is LCH and Apaches. Plus, what other incremental things can be added to it w/o contorting its 'Light' character.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby Pratyush » 14 Aug 2019 21:20

While I accept the IAF / IA purchase of Apaches.

I am concerned about our ability to add HELINA and the SANT to Apache. As in times of war we need to have our own supply chain of munitions.

Can we actually add the above mentioned missile ot it.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby rohitvats » 14 Aug 2019 21:29

I'm not the brightest crayon in the pack when it comes to technical discussions but for starters, lets do a comparison between electro-optical system on both, Apache and LCH. For these are the main sensors on both.

For reference, please check the video and content on Lockheed Martin website which gives technical overview of Apaches electro-optical system: https://www.lockheedmartin.com/en-us/products/arrowhead.html

While LCH and Rudra both use Elbit's Compass system. I couldn't get the direct details of the system on LCH but here's naval adaptation of the same system. It should give fairly good idea about our own system.

https://elbitsystems.com/media/CoMPASS_Maritime_2016.pdf

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby vivek_ahuja » 14 Aug 2019 21:31

rohitvats wrote:I don't think it is correct to say that a souped-up LCH is good enough to match Apache. A souped-up LCH with all the bells and whistles as Apache is no longer LCH but a dedicated medium/heavy category helicopter gunship.

We should keep comparison between as-is LCH and Apaches. Plus, what other incremental things can be added to it w/o contorting its 'Light' character.


Yes, that is why I wanted to differentiate between the standard LCH and the LCH-mod as perhaps an HCH. The HCH would have the same limitations as the Apache does in terms of high-altitude performance, etc. But it would be a relatively common airframe and something built and supported in India. And could be configured to carry the HELINA/Hellfire in 16 pack configs.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby vivek_ahuja » 14 Aug 2019 21:58

BTW, it seems pretty clear to me that the IAF is deploying the Apaches at Pathankot quite literally opposite the Pak armor forces at Shakargarh bulge under 1 Corps (as Rohitvats has said):
Image

The geographical distance between the border and Pathankot is about ~40 km. Flight time + return + loiter and combat detours would mean a few ~300 km worth of fuel requirements. I think both the LCH and Apache can make these trips in the same time frame without needing external fuel tanks that might reduce weapons carriage.

Question:
FARPs: Forward Area Rearming Points.
Does the IA/IAF have the FARP concept in mind for its attack helos? Or do they plan to base these helicopters as they do with fixed-wing aircraft from designated airbases? I know we have supported the Mi-35s out in the field from rough places. But the Mi-35 is a coarse beast that is easy to support in the field (and not too expensive either). The Apache, on the other hand, is heavy on electronics and costly. Will the IAF have the infrastructure to treat them like they did the Mi-35 out in the field?

The LCH, for example, is designed from the outset to be easy to support in the field. Lightweight and all infrastructure built up painstakingly in-house, so that we can support large numbers of them in the dirt and fields and send others back for repair without losing battlefield presence.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby ramana » 14 Aug 2019 22:09

Hari Nair, Can you find out if the Helina quad launcher can be fitted to the LCH and has it been flown in that mode?
Second Longbow doesn't matter to LCH if what it has can target the Helina effectively.

Vivek Very insightful remark about LCH vs Apache structure . Structure costs 15% of an aircraft but provides basis for most of the capability.

IA does plan to have forward rearming/refuelling bases.
I think a couple of spare pilots too, to swap if needed.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby Indranil » 14 Aug 2019 22:14

Ramana sir,

LCH has not been flown with quad launchers. There has been some discussion but no firm push as the user has not provided that requirement. The problem is not structural strength. AFAIK each hardpoint is rated at 250 kgs.

I also want to say that HAL has quoted a price of 35 million for each LCH. We paid 100 million per Apache (+spares+support). So, literally, we can buy two LCH for each Apache.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby Prasad » 14 Aug 2019 22:14

Dhruvastra launcher is a twin-missile launcher.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby ramana » 14 Aug 2019 23:13

Indranil wrote:Ramana sir,

LCH has not been flown with quad launchers. There has been some discussion but no firm push as the user has not provided that requirement. The problem is not structural strength. AFAIK each hardpoint is rated at 250 kgs.

I also want to say that HAL has quoted a price of 35 million for each LCH. We paid 100 million per Apache (+spares+support). So, literally, we can buy two LCH for each Apache.


So its matter of flying it? Is the electronics, wiring etc not an issue.

Requirement will come once the Apache costs are understood.

* I recall we did discuss this quad launhcer business about two years ago.

So the requirement has to come from IAF or IA?
Who is buying the LCH in larger numbers and for what purpose?

Will have to see that quad launcher integration is follow on activity or else they will stall this purchase. ;)

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby vivek_ahuja » 14 Aug 2019 23:47

Indranil wrote:CH has not been flown with quad launchers. There has been some discussion but no firm push as the user has not provided that requirement. The problem is not structural strength. AFAIK each hardpoint is rated at 250 kgs.


It should be noted that not only are we talking about quad-launcher capacity per-hardpoint, but also per-pylon capacity for twin quad launchers on the two hardpoints (for a total of 8 Hellfire/HELINAs on either side of the fuselage).

As Indranil has pointed out: each hardpoint is rated at 250 kg. Each Hellfire is 45 kg. 45x4 = 180 kg on each hardpoint.
HELINA is supposed to be at 42 kg each.

Is the pylon on the LCH rated to carry two quad launchers at 250 kg each? Or is the capacity per-hardpoint extend to per-pylon as well. That is, if you carry a quad launcher on the inboard pylon, then outboard cannot also carry an additional quad-launcher?

Requirement will come once the Apache costs are understood.

:rotfl:

Will have to see that quad launcher integration is follow on activity or else they will stall this purchase.


Agreed. Right now, the biggest issue is getting the LCH off the production lines as is before the Apache hogs the glory. These HCH-mods are all enhancements that can come later.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby sankum » 14 Aug 2019 23:52

The twin launcher with Helina missile weight is 170 kg told during Aero India seminar several years ago.Missile seeker cooling bottle is also carried.

The quad launcher can be expected to be at 340 Kg which can be only be carried by inner wing pylon of LCH.
Rudra carry only twim launcher due to low ground clearance.
In diagram of weapon load for LCH the outer pylons carry twin mistral launcher of 55kg total weight when carying inner pylons quadpack atgm launcher. Total paylod 2*340+2*55=790kg.
Last edited by sankum on 15 Aug 2019 00:22, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby sankum » 15 Aug 2019 00:13

The LCH and Rudra cary 12 nos 70 mm Rocket launcher pod while Apache carries 19 nos 70mm Rocket pod.
For 13kg /70mm Rocket for laser guided the weight of 12 pod is roughly 200kg. and 19 rocket pod is 320kg.
The max combat wing load for LCH is 800 kg and apache is 1400 kg. Higher load may be carried at the cost of being less agile.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby sankum » 15 Aug 2019 01:29

In my view it is longbow radar which gives the apache and lch hi lo capability mix
.For in firepower we can say 2 LCH is equal to single Apache.
Interesting point is both IAF and IA are buying Apache and LCH in 1:3 ratio( 22/65 and 36/97).
A couple of Apache, one with longbow radar guiding 6 LCH will be a deadly combo while in highly contested battlefield only Apache are used.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby ramana » 15 Aug 2019 01:34

Thanks Sankum. Insightful as usual.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby Indranil » 15 Aug 2019 01:59

Sankum sir,

Great inputs. the quad launcher is supposed to weight less than 340 kgs. But ground clearance was the real issue IIRC.

Max load for LCH was 1000 kgs IIRC.

I would really like to know how will the longbows direct LCHs or any other Indian asset. Its primary function is that of an FCR. In surveillance mode, it can be a set of eyes. But everything would have to be manually relayed.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby vivek_ahuja » 15 Aug 2019 02:38

sankum wrote:Rudra carry only twin launcher due to low ground clearance.


Yes. I think quad launchers on the Rudra is not feasible. And not necessary either, IMO. It does not need to act as a full-up attack helo.

sankum wrote:The max combat wing load for LCH is 800 kg and apache is 1400 kg. Higher load may be carried at the cost of being less agile.


This is the missing link in our analysis. And it is also the strongest case yet for the "1 Apache = 2 LCH" argument. Essentially, from an aero-propulsive performance standpoint, the power-to-weight ratios of the two helicopters is such that the LCH can lift as much payload as the Apache, but the structures don't support that carriage.

Rudra cannot carry quad launchers. LCH has the power to carry them, but not the structural strength on the pylons, unless the quad launchers can be made lighter, or the pylon reinforced. The latter will reduce overall maneuverability by increasing total weight.

Add to that the Longbow FCS and additional optics.

@Sankum: do you have any references for the wing load numbers on the LCH and Apache? These would be good to include here for completeness sake.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby vivek_ahuja » 15 Aug 2019 02:44

sankum wrote:A couple of Apache, one with longbow radar guiding 6 LCH will be a deadly combo while in highly contested battlefield only Apache are used.


This would be ideal, but as Indranil has said: there is skepticism on the efficacy of this, given that no information exists that the Apaches are going to be networked with LCHs. Also, no confirmation that any data linking is planned between these two helo types. And no weapons compatibility either. The Longbow-controlled hellfire missile is not qualified on LCH and the HELINA is not linked to Longbow. So not sure what weapons would be linked to the Apaches.

My feeling on this is that the LCHs will operate independently in the high altitude regions and the Apaches will dominate the Punjab and Rajasthan fronts in their own packs.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby nachiket » 15 Aug 2019 03:14

I would question if the ability to carry 16 ATGM's per helo is something that is critical or even "good-to-have" if the IA and IAF realy end up procuring the LCH in the numbers that are being talked about. Remember that this goes way beyond replacing the Mi-35's. This is a completely new hitherto unavailable capability being added. We will be going from 2 squadrons of Mi-35s in TOTAL to having a Combat Aviation Brigade at each Corps level (and that is just the IA).

The availability of attack helo support in a particular sector is going to skyrocket from what it available now. So how does it matter if each one carries only 8 ATGM's?

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby Philip » 15 Aug 2019 04:23

At the last air show,it was stated by the boffin-in-charge at the chalet , that the delay in perfecting HELINA is why ATGMs have not been featured on the LCH.It should be capable of at least 8 ATGMs whatever missile finally equips it.With the small nos.of Apaches arriving , and future large qty. of LCHs, integrating them together into attack units using a few Apaches combined with larger nos. of LCHs should increase the capablity of the units instead of them operating separately.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby ramana » 15 Aug 2019 06:22

Who is a structural designer here?

I think the principal parts of Helina quad launcher can be made out of aluminum or graphite epoxy and only the tubes which can be replaced made out of steel. The attach pylon can be machined from Aluminum plate.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby srin » 15 Aug 2019 06:51

Indranil wrote:Sankum sir,

Great inputs. the quad launcher is supposed to weight less than 340 kgs. But ground clearance was the real issue IIRC.


I wonder if over-wing pylons may help ? Not an aero guy, but my gut feel is that wing lift and adverse effects due to the overwing pylons is less of an issue with helos than with fighters.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby srin » 15 Aug 2019 06:54

Btw, I vaguely recall some news (maybe a year ago or something like that) about radar for LCH. I couldn't find it again, but I'll do a deeper search.


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