Nigeria will be the first country to buy unspecified numbers of indigenously built Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) from state-run HAL through soft credit. Six officers from the Nigerian Army have already completed training on Dhruv helicopters at HAL's Rotary Wing Academy as per a unconfirmed report by WLVN Analysis.

An official statement by either the MoD or HAL would bring much clarity to this major export order.

The LCH has similarities with Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv. It has a number of stealth features, armoured-protection systems, night attack capability and crash-worthy landing gear for better survivability, officials said.

The LCH is equipped with requisite agility, manoeuvrability, extended range, high altitude performance and all-weather combat capability to perform a range of roles including combat search and rescue (CSAR), destruction of enemy air defence (DEAD) and counter-insurgency (CI) operations.

The helicopter can also be deployed in high-altitude bunker-busting operations, counter-insurgency operations in the jungles and urban environments as well as for supporting ground forces.

The helicopter can also be used against slow-moving aircraft and remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs) of adversaries.

Officials said it would be a potent platform to meet the operational requirements of the IAF and the Indian Army.

They said state-of-the-art technologies and systems compatible with stealth features such as reduced visual, aural, radar and IR signatures and crashworthiness features for better survivability have been integrated into the LCH for deployment in combat roles.

Several key aviation technologies like a glass cockpit and composite airframe structure have been indigenised.

The future series-production version will consist of further modern and indigenous systems.

The IAF has already accepted four LCH helicopters. The officials said IAF plans to procure more LCH in the near future.

"We are already working with DRDO and HAL to integrate new weapons on the helicopter," said one of the officials.

The helicopter has been tested under stringent operating conditions including at sea level, in desert regions and in Siachen. In February 2020, it was declared ready for production.

The Army has a plan to acquire 95 LCH largely for a combat role in the mountains.