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India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is set to test a new Obstacle Avoidance System (OAS) for its indigenously developed Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) Prachand. This system will provide a crucial safety upgrade for pilots, particularly during low-level flight manoeuvres.

Attack helicopters like the Prachand excel at low-level flying maneuvers, making them ideal for taking out armored regiments. However, this operational environment also presents unique challenges. Pilots must navigate a complex landscape filled with obstacles like hills, towers, power lines, and cableways. These threats become even more dangerous during bad weather conditions and low-visibility situations like night missions.

The Prachand is specifically designed to hug the ground and utilize cover to evade enemy fire. However, for optimal effectiveness, it requires a robust sensor suite that can warn pilots of potential obstacles in their flight path, especially at night. The OAS directly addresses this need.

By providing real-time alerts and visual cues, the OAS will significantly reduce pilot workload. This translates to increased situational awareness, allowing pilots to focus on their mission objectives while maintaining a safe distance from obstacles. This will ultimately lead to a significant reduction in helicopter accidents and enhance the overall effectiveness of the Prachand in combat situations.

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