India is expected to conduct a maiden test flight for the first indigenous light combat helicopter (LCH) this month.

The LCH, built at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) facility in Bangalore, successfully completed its first ground run on 4 February.

Derived from HAL’s Dhruv advance light helicopter, which is already in service, the twin-engine LCH flies on the Shakti engine, which is jointly developed by HAL and Turbomeca of France.

The LCH, which could be ready for induction by December 2011, will carry a 20mm cannon, four types of missiles including air-to-air, air-to-ground and anti-radiation, and anti-tank, rocket pods, grenade launchers and cluster bombs.