- The Indian army had started putting its LCH helicopters along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which is close to the border with China.
- There are plans in place to increase this number to over 55 percent, which will strengthen its homegrown personality and capabilities even more.
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) gave the go-ahead to make 15 LCHs, 10 of which will go to the Indian Air Force (IAF) and 5 to the Indian Army.
The LCH is an attack helicopter. It has a 20mm machine gun, 70mm unguided rockets, laser-guided rockets, guided anti-tank missiles, guided air-to-air missiles, and guided anti-tank missiles. Its main job is to provide close air support (CAS) in high-altitude territory.
This makes it very good at things like destroying enemy air defenses, busting bunkers at high altitude, and catching drones that move slowly. The LCH Prachand is the only chopper in the world that can fly above 5,000 to 6,000 meters and carry a large offensive payload. It has shown how skilled it is by landing and taking off at Siachen, which is 4,700 meters above sea level, with a 500 kg payload.
In 1999, the Kargil War showed how important it was to have an armed rotorcraft that could fly freely at high altitudes. This made HAL and the Indian military start working on ideas for a battle helicopter that could fill this role. The LCH development program started in 2006, and initial operating capability (IOC) was supposed to be reached by December 2010. But the project ran late and had problems, which were partly caused by the providers.
Most of the LCH Prachand is based on HAL’s older homegrown helicopter, the ALH Dhruv, which cut the cost of the program by a large amount. The first LCH prototype took its first flight on March 29, 2010, and a full test program was done with four versions.
During tests, the LCH was the first attack helicopter to land in Siachen. It did this several times on helipads as high as 13,600 to 15,800 feet (4,100 to 4,800 meters). By the middle of 2016, the LCH had finished its performance tests, which led to its base configuration being certified.
On August 26, 2017, the Prachand was made for the first time in a limited run. On November 19, 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave the LCH to IAF Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari. This made it possible for full-scale training to start. The LCH was officially added to the IAF on October 3, 2022, and given the name “Prachand.” By November, the Indian army had started putting its LCH helicopters along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which is close to the border with China.
At the moment, 45 percent of the LCH’s value comes from its own design and development. However, there are plans in place to increase this number to over 55 percent, which will strengthen its homegrown personality and capabilities even more.