Apache Helicopter vs HAL LCH: Who is the best in Mountain Warfare?
India deployed its indigenous attack helicopter HAL LCH (light combat helicopter) at its forward base of high altitude.
Indian Armed Forces also gave the order of procuring 30 new HAL LCH. India has very keen on this helicopter and is fully sure of its potential in mountain warfare. Two LCHs have been already deployed in the Ladakh region.
India also has the option of AH-64E Apache attack Helicopter but the Indian armed force isn’t sending this U.S-made helicopter in the Himalayan range.
In the HAL press release, they said that “LCH is a potent weapon platform because of its state of the art systems and highly accurate weapons that are capable of hitting any type of target by day or night”.
Today in this article we are going to compare the capabilities of the Apache Helicopter and HAL LCH.
It is the most lethal attack helicopter in the world. It takes part in many combat operations. The first flight of the Apache Helicopter was held in 1975.
The AH-64 Apache is made by the American defense giant company Boeing with the help of McDonnell Douglas and Hughes Helicopters. It is a twin-seater helicopter which runs on twin turboshaft engines.
It is loaded with a 30 mm M230 chain gun, typically a mixture of AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and Hydra 70 rocket pods. Apache Helicopter has four hardpoints mounted on stub-wing pylons.
Currently, apache is in the service of
- United States Army
- Israeli Air Force
- Egyptian Air Force
- Royal Netherlands Air Force
- Indian Air Force
Variants of the Apache
Apache has come with a variety of variants which includes lots of technology.
- AH-64A Apache
It is the first and original production of the Apache attack helicopter.
- AH-64B Apache
It is the up-gradation of Apache’s first variant AH-64A.
- AH-64C Apache
It has newer-700 C engine versions and is equipped with high-quality radar.
- AH-64D Apache
The full name of this version is AH-64D Apache Longbow. It is used by the Israeli air force
- AH-64E Apache
This variant has increased capabilities more than ever. Its full representation is the AH-64E Guardian. Used by Indian Air Force
It is the plan to upgrade various variants proposed by Boeing In 2014. It has greater speed and becomes stealthier and manoeuvrable.
- Sea Apache
- Compound Apache
HAL LCH ( Light Combat Helicopters)
LCH is the world’s lightest attack helicopter and is designed and manufactured in India. LCH had taken its first flight on 29 March 2010.
Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) is manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). After the Kargil War, the Indian Armed Forces and HAL collaborated to develop India’s First attack helicopter. In 2006 HAL announced to design and manufacture this.
This multi-role attack helicopter has a twin-seat which runs on the twin-Turbomeca Shakti-1H1 engines.
It is loaded with a 20mm M621 cannon, cluster bombs, 70mm FZ Rockets and two rounds of air to air mistral-2 missiles. It has four hardpoints to carry the ammunition.
Currently, it is being used by the Indian air force and plans to export to another country.
Although there is not any comparison between Apache and LCH. We will only discuss the capabilities of both helicopters.
Apache is far superior to LCH in terms of combat experience. Apache is combat-proven but LCH is yet to prove its capabilities in combat.
HAL Light Combat Helicopters
Manufactured By HAL
Manufactured By Boeing along with two other companies
Two-seat Multirole attack helicopters
Two-seat Multirole attack helicopters
Max takeoff weight: 5800 kg
Max Takeoff weight: 10433 kg
Twin HAL Turbomeca Shakti-1H1 turboshaft engines
Twin General electric T-700-GE-701 turboshaft engines
Less powerful engine than Apache
Empty weight: 2250 kg
Empty weight: 5165 kg
Max Speed : 269 km/h
Max Speed : 293 km/h
Cruise Speed: 230 km/h
Cruise Speed: 265 km/h
Range: 550 km
Range: 476 km
Combat range: 550 km
Combat range: 480 km
Service Ceiling: 6500 m ( 21,300ft)
Service Ceiling: 6100 m ( 21,000ft)
Rate of climb: 2,400 ft/min
Rate of climb: 2800 ft/ min
Guns: 20 mm M621 cannon on Nexter TH-20 turret
Guns: 30mm M230 chain gun with 1200 rounds
Rockets: 70mm FZ or Thales rocket pods
Rocket:70mm Hydra70, 70mm CRV7 and APKWS 70 mm air-to-ground rockets
Missiles: Two rounds of Mistral-2 air-to-air missiles or four rounds of Helina Missiles (upcoming)
Missiles: AGM-114 Hellfire variants, AIM-92 stinger and spike missiles
Bombs: Cluster bombs, unguided bombs and grenade launchers
Bombs: cluster bombs
Missile Approach Warning System
Nose Mounted Sensor for target acquisition
Saab Radar and laser warning system
Updated longbow radar with oversea capacity
Chaff and flare dispensers
Why Indian Armed forces choose LCH instead of Apache helicopter for mountain warfare
If we compare the Indian version of apache with HAL LCH, we finds Apache is faster than LCH, has a more powerful engine carries, far more superior weapons, better data networking and most advanced combat-proven attack helicopter in the world.
Despite all this, Apache lags from its Indian counterpart HAL LCH in some cases. The Himalayan region is situated 10,000 feet or more above sea level. The terrain and climate of this region are so difficult to conquer for any machine in the world.
HAL LCH has demonstrated its ability to operate in these conditions several times before. This attack helicopter performs many successful actions in the Siachen glaciers and desert in Rajasthan.
In 2015, it also conducted several test landings on Siachen glaciers with a load of 500 kg.
A former Indian Air Force officer wrote about the ability of LCH in the Himalayan region. He said, “ the apache helicopter would do well in the plains, they would have limitations operating at high altitude. That’s where the LCH fits in. It has successfully been tested in altitudes over 13000 feet and was the first attack helicopter to land at the forward bases in Siachen”.
As per the expert’s opinion and after reading a bunch of articles on both the helicopter, we can conclude ourselves. Apache and HAL LCH have different capabilities that’s why we can see the differences in their actions.
If we talk about ground and open war combat then Apache is the most lethal weapon and can devastate Chinease and Pakistani tanks.
While if we talk about mountain warfare like the Himalayan region then India’s HAL LCH can be a better option where limited troops deployment and flying arsenal isn’t needed. The only requirement is an armed helicopter that can fly above the mountains.
Both the helicopters are best in their role. So we can conclude with the note of high energy. We have both helicopters, which is the best thing that we can say.
Thank you for reading the whole article with kind interest. I hope you liked it and please do not forget to give your valuable feedback.