With “Prachand” Light Combat Helicopter, India’s Firepower At China And Pakistan Borders Gets A Big Boost
- The helicopters are very manoeuvrable and nimble, with stealth characteristics such as 20mm turret cannons, 70mm rocket systems, and air-to-air missiles.
- According to sources, the helicopters include 45% indigenous content by value, which is expected to increase to more than 55% in the next iteration of the chopper.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) inducted its first batch of indigenously-made Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) Prachand on Monday, adding a substantial punch to its combat capacity.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said during the induction ceremony of the Made-in-India helicopters at Rajasthan’s Jodhpur Air Force base that the action will increase India’s capability and defence industry.
“There could not have been a finer time for the induction of LCH than Navratri in Rajasthan, the country of warriors,” he remarked.
The Cabinet Committee on Security, chaired by the Prime Minister, approved the purchase of 15 LCH Limited Series Production (LSP) aircraft for Rs 3,887 crore, together with ancillary infrastructure costing Rs 377 crore, in March of this year.
The IAF will receive ten helicopters from the LSP, while the Indian Army will receive five.
In the coming years, the IAF and Army are expected to require 160 LCHs. The Army alone intends to procure 95 helicopters for mountain deployment. The Army plans to put its first squadron of LCH helicopters into service next month.
INDIGENOUS COMBAT HELICOPTER
The LCH is a 5.5-tonne class combat helicopter conceived and manufactured in India by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) that is powered by twin Shakti engines and can be used for counter-insurgency and search-and-rescue operations. They can also be deployed against enemy remotely piloted aircraft and specific aircraft (RPAs).
The helicopters are very manoeuvrable and nimble, with stealth characteristics such as 20mm turret cannons, 70mm rocket systems, and air-to-air missiles. For greater survivability, the helicopters also include armour protection, night assault capability, and crash-worthy landing gear.
According to sources, the helicopters include 45% indigenous content by value, which is expected to increase to more than 55% in the next iteration of the chopper. Because India is on the import restriction list, its reliance on foreign combat helicopters will decrease.
The choppers’ next series production version will be outfitted with the most advanced indigenous systems.
BOOST TO INDIA’S MOUNTAIN COMBAT CAPABILITY
The choppers may be used to attack enemy infantry troops, tanks, and bunkers in all terrains, including high-altitude zones of more than 20,000 feet, enhancing India’s capabilities near its border with China.
In the past, the choppers have been flown over Ladakh as well as in the deserts, demonstrating their capacity to operate in any terrain. In the midst of the region’s military tension with China, two helicopters were flight-tested in eastern Ladakh in 2020.
DRDO and HAL are working together to put additional armaments on the chopper.