Indian Military Helicopters

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vivek_ahuja
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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby vivek_ahuja » 07 Nov 2016 12:33

Rohitvats,

I think it would be enlightening to clearly list out what the Indian Army considers its attack helicopter needs in its "Heavy" and "Light" classes. Is this distinction based on some firepower/range/protection metric? Or is it more philosophical?

In the context of the US armed forces at least, this issue is clear:
  • Attack: Apache
  • Recon: Kiowa / Comanche (one-time fantasy)
  • Utility: Blackhawks
  • Cargo: Chinook

Similarly, for the US Marine Corps:
  • Attack: Cobra
  • Recon: Cobra ?
  • Utility: Huey
  • Cargo: Sea Stallions / V-22

And for the Indian Army:
  • Attack: Apache (desert/Punjab) (61+) / LCH (Mountains) (114+) ?
  • Recon: LCH (in all terrains) (114+)
  • Utility: Dhruv / LUH
  • Cargo: Mi-17 / Chinook

Is that list about right?

Questions:
  • What are your comments on the Recon versus Attack roles envisaged by the IA? How do these differ in the Indian context?
  • If recon does not equal attack (in the Indian context), how will the LCH force be split between them? Specialized squadrons?
  • Is the IA looking at LCH only as a recon heli?
  • Is LUH going to play a role in recon?

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby Indranil » 07 Nov 2016 12:53

That is a good question about the recce attack mix. I would like to direct a related question to the HAL folks here. The Kiowa is chosen for recce because of its high speed and agility. Has HAL considered coming up with modifying the rotors to generate a faster helicopter at lower altitudes.

Actually, this questions stems from another question I have had for a long time. For civilian ALHs and LUHs, where high altitude performance is not desired, has HAL considered a derated engine with modified rotors to give maximum fuel efficiency and higher top speed?

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby rohitvats » 07 Nov 2016 14:50

vivek_ahuja wrote:Rohitvats,

I think it would be enlightening to clearly list out what the Indian Army considers its attack helicopter needs in its "Heavy" and "Light" classes. Is this distinction based on some firepower/range/protection metric? Or is it more philosophical?


You ask too many intelligent questions... :mrgreen:

Jokes apart - Credit needs to be given to IAF to formulate a requirement for attack helicopter which could be deployed in high-altitude areas. And this learning came from being unable to deploy Mi-24/35 in Kargil.

There is no written document to support this but it is my guesstimate that when LCH requirement was firmed up by IAF, they primarily had high-altitude deployment in mind. Along with other areas outside of Strike Corps. IAF requirement for 65 LCH points me to this direction. That's about 6 squadron worth of attack helicopters.

For deployment in plains, IAF and IA would be looking for an out and out tank-killer - something which can take out PA armor during our attack or blunt any armor offensive by the enemy into sensitive areas like Chicken's Neck. After all, present units work with our Strike Corps or cover sensitive corridors.

As for light versus heavy - since IAF has been operating Mi-24/35 for plains, it would not have been too difficult to sell a requirement for replacement of these 'heavy' gunships with another newer 'heavy gunships'.

IMO, final numbers being procured are a function of giving 'something' to USA as a quid-pro-quo. Senior ex-AAC officer are on record that MOD asked IA to formulate its own requirement for Apache helicopters after a decision was taken that first 22 Apaches will go to IAF. So, this was more like a windfall for the Army Aviation Corps.

And for the Indian Army:
  • Attack: Apache (desert/Punjab) (61+) / LCH (Mountains) (114+) ?

    Specifically for IA - 39 Apaches with Strike Corps. 114 LCH to be distributed to rest of Pivot Corps. Into this calculation, also add 70-80 planned number of WSI-Dhruv.

  • Recon: LCH (in all terrains) (114+)

    - Recce & Observation (R&O) flights in our case consist of Cheetah helicopters. These shall be replaced with LUH/Ka-266 when they enter service. We don't have an armed recce version or even Kiowa type with specific R&O equipment. But I've read literature where demand for these types to have capability for transmitting real time information has been presented.

    - R&O is a very big category for the IA. It undertakes multiple roles from artillery observation, communication, limited troop movement, CASEVAC to ferrying senior officers. IA perspective plan calls for R&O unit for each division. And in some cases, for independent brigades as well. As present, a R&O Squadron at Corps level has its flights distributed between individual divisions in the Corps.


  • Utility: Dhruv / LUH

    - LUH falls under R&O category as mentioned earlier.
    - Dhruv is the main utility helicopter of the army.


  • Cargo: Mi-17 / Chinook

- Mi-17 falls under the medium light capability while Chinook falls under the heavy-lift capability.
- IAF presently controls Mi-17 and will control the future induction of Chinooks as well.
- In AAC's scheme of things, they would like to control Mi-17 and place then under Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB). A CAB is envisaged for each Corps HQ.
- If allowed, IA wants 4-5 Chinook squadrons of about 10-12 units each. These would be placed at Command HQ level and allow a theater commander to move a battalion worth of troops within the theater.


Questions:
  • What are your comments on the Recon versus Attack roles envisaged by the IA? How do these differ in the Indian context?
  • If recon does not equal attack (in the Indian context), how will the LCH force be split between them? Specialized squadrons?
  • Is the IA looking at LCH only as a recon heli?
  • Is LUH going to play a role in recon?


- As mentioned earlier, IA wants a Combat Aviation Brigade for each Corps HQ.
- This CAB will have a mix of attack helicopters, R&O squadrons and light+medium lift helicopters.
- But AAC does not control any medium lift helicopters. They want 1 x Mi-17 type for each Corps HQ. And Chinook at Command HQ level. This spread stems from effort to build capability to lift an infantry company at Corps level, battalion at Command HQ level and a whole brigade at AHQ level.
- Both LUH and Ka-226 fall under R&O category as well AAC.
- Apart from Apaches, both LCH and WSI-Dhruv will together hold the mantle of attack helicopters. 114 + 80 represents a very powerful punch and a capability which hitherto we did not have. This is about 18+ squadron worth of attack helicopters. Expect each of our Corps to have 1 x attack helicopter squadron. Some might have two.
- In fact, to these 114 LCH, add 65 from IAF as well.

Hope the above helps!

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby JTull » 07 Nov 2016 15:29

Do you envisage an IN requirement for LCH/Rudra/Apache with the impending expansion of LPD fleet?

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby shiv » 07 Nov 2016 17:58


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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby shiv » 07 Nov 2016 19:32

Per LiveFist - news that makes me happy. 15 LCH acquisition cleared. 10 for IAF, 5 for army.

Now I hope HAL does not do what CAG said they did for Tejas. 4 Tejas LSP were to be delivered by 2006, but the first one appeared only in 2007

Spotlight on HAL now. They must deliver and no excuses.

Maybe sometime down the line someone will say - order for 15 not enough - place order for 200. Can HAL deliver 15, or will they want commitment for 200 to start talking about delivering 15? If that is the case HAL should say so right now rather than making the country wait and then giving excuses.

After all we are all so sure that private players will come on board only if orders are big. That makes sense. Why does HAL come on board for small orders? Because it is a PSU? Because it is protected? because it gets money without accountability?

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby Thakur_B » 07 Nov 2016 20:45

Indranil wrote:Also, just a matter of choice. Many people find the Apaches ugly. I find them to be very beautiful fighting machines.


When it comes to attack helicopters, ugliness has a beauty of its own.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby Indranil » 07 Nov 2016 21:04

Hakim sir,

You are right. The. All is squarely in HAL's court now. However, I am very hopeful. LCH is not a totally new platform. The design has been frozen. In fact, they were going to produce 5 anyhow this year. All these are good signs.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby shiv » 07 Nov 2016 21:12

Indranil wrote:You are right. The. All is squarely in HAL's court now. However, I am very hopeful. LCH is not a totally new platform. The design has been frozen. In fact, they were going to produce 5 anyhow this year. All these are good signs.

The HAL MD's statement about "weapons integration based on user requirement" now makes me breathe more easy after this. It worried me when I heard it first. I am sure there is an army/air force difference in the weapons mix. But I wonder what the details are?

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby Thakur_B » 07 Nov 2016 21:13

chola wrote:
Thakur_B wrote:^^ LCH is designed to take direct hits from 50 cal hmg. Chola ji does not know what he is talking about.


Yes, why bother designing and deploying heavyweight attack copters like the Apache, Hind or the KA-50?

Don't the Americans and Russians know you can get the same protection in a lightweight utility derivative?


Tell that to the Europeans. Eurocopter Tiger and Mangusta are rated to withstand 23mm cannon burst and 50 calibre armour piercing bullets,in just about the same weight as LCH. The Chinese too have rated their Z-10 for 50 cal fire protection. In fact, the european helicopters in the weight class of LCH are rated for the same level of protection as Russian Heavies. When compared to LCH class of attack helicopters, Apache and Ka-50 bring in twice the payload and 50% more range. Your common sense logic dictates that a MiG-27 cannot be more heavily armoured than Su-30. Just because a larger airframe requires more armour, doesn't mean it is automatically more heavily armoured.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby shiv » 07 Nov 2016 21:15


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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby JayS » 07 Nov 2016 21:20

shiv wrote:Per LiveFist - news that makes me happy. 15 LCH acquisition cleared. 10 for IAF, 5 for army.

Now I hope HAL does not do what CAG said they did for Tejas. 4 Tejas LSP were to be delivered by 2006, but the first one appeared only in 2007

Spotlight on HAL now. They must deliver and no excuses.

Maybe sometime down the line someone will say - order for 15 not enough - place order for 200. Can HAL deliver 15, or will they want commitment for 200 to start talking about delivering 15? If that is the case HAL should say so right now rather than making the country wait and then giving excuses.

After all we are all so sure that private players will come on board only if orders are big. That makes sense. Why does HAL come on board for small orders? Because it is a PSU? Because it is protected? because it gets money without accountability?


They have already started Serial Production for 5 SPs.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby Pratyush » 07 Nov 2016 21:26

What will be the weapons fit for the production machines. Helina or Hellfire? Enquiring minds want to know. Also what is the weapons fit for the Rudra asides from the rockets and the 30mm cannon.

Will the Rudra & the LCH have a common missiles fit?

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby Pratyush » 07 Nov 2016 21:35

shiv wrote:After all we are all so sure that private players will come on board only if orders are big. That makes sense. Why does HAL come on board for small orders? Because it is a PSU? Because it is protected? because it gets money without accountability?


Shiv,

I'll take the bait, :P

In this case most of the major sub assemblies are shared with the ALH, so the size of orders is not really relevant. Having said so, serial production can pick up relatively quickly as most of the major sub assemblies are already supplied through a well established supply chain.

The only major structural component that is unique for the LCH is the airframe. The cannon and FLIR is shared with the Rudra. Missile fit is not specified. But can be Helfire as well if specified by the end user to insure commonality with the Apache.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby shiv » 07 Nov 2016 21:44

^^Hope you are right and I wish the program great and timely success and huge orders.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby Indranil » 07 Nov 2016 23:40

Pratyush wrote:What will be the weapons fit for the production machines. Helina or Hellfire? Enquiring minds want to know. Also what is the weapons fit for the Rudra asides from the rockets and the 30mm cannon.

Will the Rudra & the LCH have a common missiles fit?

I don't think Hellfires were ever in contention. Helina, Pars 3 LR and Spike ER are/were. Helina has been test fired many times from Rudra. In 2011, Pars 3 LR and Spike ER were selected and delegations visited the manufacturers' sites*. I don't know what happened after that. I hope those proposals have been given a quiet burial.

*The missile (Pars 3), in service with the German Army on its UH-Tiger helicopters, was tested at Vidsel in Sweden in April this year. ''The successful firings matched all Indian operational requirements, but an Indian delegation could not witness it due to administrative reasons,'' Meuthen said.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby ramana » 08 Nov 2016 04:20

Indranil and others. What is the Economic order quantity (EOQ) for high value items like helicopters and aircraft?
What is needed to setup the supply chain?

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby ramana » 08 Nov 2016 04:23

Now that purchasing mission(India Today report) seeking anti tank missiles and launchers for ALH makes sense.


vaibhav.n wrote:MoD's shopping spree break-up table


Image


Its for the Pars3.

How many ALH are there?

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby vivek_ahuja » 08 Nov 2016 06:06

Rohitvats: as always, an information-filled post from your end.

rohitvats wrote:For deployment in plains, IAF and IA would be looking for an out and out tank-killer - something which can take out PA armor during our attack or blunt any armor offensive by the enemy into sensitive areas like Chicken's Neck. After all, present units work with our Strike Corps or cover sensitive corridors.

As for light versus heavy - since IAF has been operating Mi-24/35 for plains, it would not have been too difficult to sell a requirement for replacement of these 'heavy' gunships with another newer 'heavy gunships'.


So this is rather interesting. If I understand you correctly, the above statements could be translated into a firepower+endurance statement.

In other words, a "heavy" attack helo would carry a lot of anti-tank missile rounds, plus have enough endurance to stick around to use them all before returning to refuel. Is that an accurate summary?

I presume, of course that we don't use the word "heavy" in the context of ballistic protection, i.e. the Apache and LCH would both be similarly protected and similarly vulnerable to similar external threats.

rohitvats wrote:Into this calculation, also add 70-80 planned number of WSI-Dhruv.


But doesn't the WSI-Dhruv fall short on the firepower count? I presume it has the endurance to hang around long enough, but it carries only about 8(?) rounds of anti-tank missiles. So that would make it a "light" attack, perhaps even lighter than the LCH. I was always under the impression that the WSI-Dhruv was more of a Special Operations thing instead of an anti-tank role. It certainly would not have the agility and survivability of the LCH against armor threats while carrying the same firepower. What am I missing here?

rohitvats wrote:Recce & Observation (R&O) flights in our case consist of Cheetah helicopters. These shall be replaced with LUH/Ka-266 when they enter service. We don't have an armed recce version or even Kiowa type with specific R&O equipment. But I've read literature where demand for these types to have capability for transmitting real time information has been presented.

- R&O is a very big category for the IA. It undertakes multiple roles from artillery observation, communication, limited troop movement, CASEVAC to ferrying senior officers. IA perspective plan calls for R&O unit for each division. And in some cases, for independent brigades as well. As present, a R&O Squadron at Corps level has its flights distributed between individual divisions in the Corps.


Another interesting point. The underlined activities you state require a bird that is not LCH. The LUH of course, fills this role perfectly.

I think the key takeaway here is that the IA does not have a clear distinction between armed-recce and R&O. So the LCH could do armed-recce, but this requirement has not been scoped yet...at least not publicly.

I am in favor of keeping the vast array of helicopter types in check, so if armed-recce will mean another helicopter type, lets just forget it altogether and focus on the R&O.

rohitvats wrote:- But AAC does not control any medium lift helicopters. They want 1 x Mi-17 type for each Corps HQ. And Chinook at Command HQ level. This spread stems from effort to build capability to lift an infantry company at Corps level, battalion at Command HQ level and a whole brigade at AHQ level.


Honestly, IMVHO, I do not understand the IAF obsession with controlling the medium and heavy helicopters. They should be Army property. The IAF should focus on fixed wing and space assets instead.

rohitvats wrote:- Apart from Apaches, both LCH and WSI-Dhruv will together hold the mantle of attack helicopters. 114 + 80 represents a very powerful punch and a capability which hitherto we did not have. This is about 18+ squadron worth of attack helicopters. Expect each of our Corps to have 1 x attack helicopter squadron. Some might have two.
- In fact, to these 114 LCH, add 65 from IAF as well.


Agreed.

rohitvats wrote:Hope the above helps!


Always a pleasure reading your posts.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby ramana » 08 Nov 2016 06:16

Will ask Deejay to weigh in from operational POV.

Vivek, I once read a report in Janes circa 1980s that, a flight of six MBB helicopters with anti tank missiles stopped a tank brigade in one of the NATO exercises.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby Kartik » 08 Nov 2016 06:29

They went for the Pars3 for the Rudra?

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby Singha » 08 Nov 2016 07:18

Looks like it. Another domestic project killed.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby Singha » 08 Nov 2016 07:19

Fig leaves will be given here how helina will mature and serve in other ships like apache later lol

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby shaun » 08 Nov 2016 07:42

Here some one was mentioning about heavy hepter like apaches having numero uno protection as if bumping off SAM or RPGs should watch the massacre of hinds @ Afga during 80's.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby shiv » 08 Nov 2016 07:51

vivek_ahuja wrote:I think the key takeaway here is that the IA does not have a clear distinction between armed-recce and R&O. So the LCH could do armed-recce, but this requirement has not been scoped yet...at least not publicly.

Armed recce has been done by armed Cheetah . There are images about - will post from my other compootar. So I expect the LUH will have provision for light armament.

There are some nice stories from 1971 of senior officers doing recce and an incident of a Paki surrender in E Pak when they saw an Indian army officer landing and thought that the game was over. I re read it a few months ago must locate

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby shiv » 08 Nov 2016 07:53

shaun wrote:Here some one was mentioning about heavy hepter like apaches having numero uno protection as if bumping off SAM or RPGs should watch the massacre of hinds @ Afga during 80's.

You are right. Armour can take a flying machine only so far. It does not mean the pilot can ignore ground fire. However battle scenarios often mean that the pilots must ignore ground fire temporarily and in those instances armour is of some help. That's all.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby Pratyush » 08 Nov 2016 08:04

The armor will not protect you from an Ambush, or a SAM. What it will do is protect the Helo from small arms fire & that is the most common threat on the battle field.

For every thing else, the employment tactics have to be smart with good recon capabilities. So that when the assault helo goes out, it does so for the kill. It is foolish to scour the modern battlefield at 2500 feet looking for targets, when you can be seen from miles around and any honest Abdul can take an RPG or 23 mm shot at you.

Go low and stay low, with good recon, over the battle field, that is the mantra for success and survival.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby vivek_ahuja » 08 Nov 2016 08:10

So I was thinking some more about the "light" versus "heavy" attack helicopters, namely that:

rohitvats wrote:For deployment in plains, IAF and IA would be looking for an out and out tank-killer - something which can take out PA armor during our attack or blunt any armor offensive by the enemy into sensitive areas like Chicken's Neck. After all, present units work with our Strike Corps or cover sensitive corridors.

As for light versus heavy - since IAF has been operating Mi-24/35 for plains, it would not have been too difficult to sell a requirement for replacement of these 'heavy' gunships with another newer 'heavy gunships'.


vivek_ahuja wrote:So this is rather interesting. If I understand you correctly, the above statements could be translated into a firepower+endurance statement.

In other words, a "heavy" attack helo would carry a lot of anti-tank missile rounds, plus have enough endurance to stick around to use them all before returning to refuel.


Boiling my thesis further, I did the following analysis:

Assumptions:
  • The Apache is the gold-standard for a firepower/range comparison
  • Consequently, a firepower requirement is of 16 Anti-tank missile rounds + internal fuel for enough endurance/range
  • That 16 anti-tank missile rounds + gun ammo < 1000 kg weapons
  • That all helicopters must have a common cruise speed of 172 km/hr as the mission average
  • Sea level altitude-density conditions

Range versus Internal Fuel
Plug in the above assumptions, and you can do a simple performance analysis for rotary craft as shown here. I added the Mi-25 as a current Indian comparison point.
Image

About the plot:
There are two sets of range versus internal fuel plot lines for each helicopter: one for 1,000 kg payload and one for 500 kg payload. This is put there to show you the sensitivity of the plots. The range of noise, if you will, on the analysis done here for each helicopter. The X axis is the internal fuel capacity and the Y axis is range.

The triangles in the plot show you where currently available information puts the three helicopters. The lines before and after them thus show the trajectory of improvement if fuel capacity is changed.

Analysis:
  • Right off the bat you notice the more vertical nature of the LCH curves. The higher the slope of the curves, the more range you get for the existing internal fuel. This is a testimony of the high-altitude design of the LCH.
  • Similarly, see the Mi-25 and how flat its performance curve is. A testimony of why it struggles severely at higher altitudes.
  • Note the much higher range of the Apache versus the LCH in its current form when both carry the same heavy payload. This is a function of much higher internal fuel of the Apache compared to the LCH.
  • Because the plot of the LCH curve is much higher slope, a small increase in LCH internal fuel equals a disproportionate increase in range. Can this be achieved?

The bottom line from this analysis is that you can see that the LCH is truly a "light" attack helicopter compared to the "heavy" Apache and Mi-25. Internal fuel is the killer. Possibly also the structures on the pylons that would allow the outer stub pylons to carry a quad-launcher for anti-tank missiles.

I did this analysis to convince myself if the Apache is indeed in a "heavy" class that the LCH cannot catch up to. Looks like it is indeed that way.

-Vivek
Last edited by vivek_ahuja on 08 Nov 2016 10:17, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby vivek_ahuja » 08 Nov 2016 08:16

shiv wrote:
vivek_ahuja wrote:I think the key takeaway here is that the IA does not have a clear distinction between armed-recce and R&O. So the LCH could do armed-recce, but this requirement has not been scoped yet...at least not publicly.

Armed recce has been done by armed Cheetah . There are images about - will post from my other compootar. So I expect the LUH will have provision for light armament.

There are some nice stories from 1971 of senior officers doing recce and an incident of a Paki surrender in E Pak when they saw an Indian army officer landing and thought that the game was over. I re read it a few months ago must locate


Right. The LUH with a light-attack capacity would basically be the enhancement over the armed Cheetah. But the LCH would not be a replacement of the armed Cheetah.

If the armed Cheetah is a measure of what the IA considers as armed recce, the armed-LUH is indeed the way to go. LCH is overkill for that role, not to mention that it cannot do other roles that Rohit listed above.

-Vivek

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby Rammpal » 08 Nov 2016 08:20

Both LUH and LAH uses Shakti engines.
Is there any limitation(MoD) to its use for commercial application, for e.g.?

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby vivek_ahuja » 08 Nov 2016 08:21

ramana wrote:Vivek, I once read a report in Janes circa 1980s that, a flight of six MBB helicopters with anti tank missiles stopped a tank brigade in one of the NATO exercises.


Interesting. I would love to get some details on that exercise.

My thesis is that the MBB helicopters would be a much larger target to anti-helicopter weapons than a thinner and more agile attack-helo. Which is not to say that the stubbier armed-utility helos cant do the job, of course. In war, the IA will take whatever is available, I am sure.

-Vivek

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby Singha » 08 Nov 2016 08:59

Vivek did the ah64a of ods fame have same internal range as the ah64d now? They added the fat side cheeks later and mainly has avionics bays. was wondering if that created room for bigger fuel tanks in main body

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby Pratyush » 08 Nov 2016 09:05

Singha,

The machine always had fat side cheeks. So range should not be a real issue. the enhanced range comes from 4* 230 gallon fuel tanks the it can carry

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby shiv » 08 Nov 2016 09:12

Army Day Bengaluru 2003
Image

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby Bishwa » 08 Nov 2016 10:02

I assume the Apache is capable of mid air refueling? is the IAF/IA versions going to have that capability?

Does the LCH have any capability in this regard?

vivek_ahuja
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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby vivek_ahuja » 08 Nov 2016 10:22

Singha wrote:Vivek did the ah64a of ods fame have same internal range as the ah64d now? They added the fat side cheeks later and mainly has avionics bays. was wondering if that created room for bigger fuel tanks in main body


As far as I can tell, the -701 series engines have not had a significant change in SFC between the AH-64A through AH-64E. But the overall power has been increased. But if overall mass and other payload + fuel is the same (plus you are at sea-level density-altitude), then the overall power improvement does not come into play for range (if does in agility, of course).

So to answer your question, I can state that the range of the AH-64 has not changed (on internal fuel only).

Just a note of caution: that plot I posted above talks about range, not combat radius, which is less than half of any given range value.

-Vivek

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby vivek_ahuja » 08 Nov 2016 10:24

Bishwa wrote:I assume the Apache is capable of mid air refueling? is the IAF/IA versions going to have that capability?

Does the LCH have any capability in this regard?


No for all three questions. Apache does not refuel in mid-air. IAF does not want that capability on its attack birds. And LCH does not have this capability.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby vivek_ahuja » 08 Nov 2016 10:27

shiv wrote:Army Day Bengaluru 2003


Shiv saar, I remember these armed Cheetahs. Weren't they called Cheetal? I think we even exported some of these.

I think a similar capability will be needed for the LUH and the Kamov birds to fulfill the R&O role. I wonder if that was made part of the acquisition deal for the Kamov birds?

-Vivek

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby rohitvats » 08 Nov 2016 10:37

vivek_ahuja wrote:<SNIP> So this is rather interesting. If I understand you correctly, the above statements could be translated into a firepower+endurance statement. In other words, a "heavy" attack helo would carry a lot of anti-tank missile rounds, plus have enough endurance to stick around to use them all before returning to refuel. Is that an accurate summary?<SNIP>


Yes, this is my understanding. In fact, if people on BRF remember, there was a blog by ex-Mi-25/35 helicopter pilot where he had written very interesting scenarios, like our own war-game thread, on use of the gunship and how it is employed to take-out major Pakistan armor threat.

But doesn't the WSI-Dhruv fall short on the firepower count? I presume it has the endurance to hang around long enough, but it carries only about 8(?) rounds of anti-tank missiles. So that would make it a "light" attack, perhaps even lighter than the LCH. I was always under the impression that the WSI-Dhruv was more of a Special Operations thing instead of an anti-tank role. It certainly would not have the agility and survivability of the LCH against armor threats while carrying the same firepower. What am I missing here?


Look at it from the perspective of having a hitherto unavailable capability. And the tremendous fire-power it adds to the parent Corps of such a squadron. The enemy in either case will have a difficult time dealing with such a threat.

Also, don't forget that before the advent of Mi-25/35 in IAF service, Chetak helicopters fitted with SS-11 anti-tank missile were our first anti-tank helicopters. WSI-Dhruv is a many times more advanced machine and when armed with a missile like HELINA, it presents a very powerful threat to enemy armor.

From BRF: http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/Galleries/Aircraft/Current/Helicopters/Chetak/Z1815Z926Z373.jpg.html

The way West German Army employed their MBB Bo-105 helicopters modified to carry HOT missile is a template of what a chopper like WSI-Dhruv can do in anti-armor role.

Another interesting point. The underlined activities you state require a bird that is not LCH. The LUH of course, fills this role perfectly. I think the key takeaway here is that the IA does not have a clear distinction between armed-recce and R&O. So the LCH could do armed-recce, but this requirement has not been scoped yet...at least not publicly. I am in favor of keeping the vast array of helicopter types in check, so if armed-recce will mean another helicopter type, lets just forget it altogether and focus on the R&O.


As I said earlier, use of LUH in dedicated R&O profile like Kiowa will require some modification with more apt equipment. There is mention of such a requirement and modification in the literature that I've read. Also, IA will learn and evolve as LCH makes into service.

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Re: Indian Military Helicopters

Postby rohitvats » 08 Nov 2016 10:42

ramana wrote: <SNIP>Vivek, I once read a report in Janes circa 1980s that, a flight of six MBB helicopters with anti tank missiles stopped a tank brigade in one of the NATO exercises.


As I commented earlier, the way West German Army employed MBB Bo-105 is a template for our own WSI-Dhruv.

These German choppers were the first to have hinge-less rotor head and therefore were extremely agile and maneuverable. This allowed them to be used in the Nap-of-Earth (NOE) profile. Each was armed with 6 x HOT anti-tank missile and they evolved tactics to ambush Red Army armored thrust.

See these short documentaries on the type and their employment in anti-armor role - fabulous flying by German pilots!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHTroAhP5qE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYiNLgcUzJQ


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