First of homegrown Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) joined the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Monday.
The choppers were inducted into the IAF at a ceremony in Jodhpur city, Rajasthan. They have been named “Prachand.”
The Indian Army will get around 95 LCH aircraft while the IAF will get 65. The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) had approved the procurement of 15 LCH Limited Series Production for the Air Force for approximately $500 million along with Infrastructure sanctions worth around $45 million in March this year.
Manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the twin-engine LCH weighs 5.8 tonne and has armour protection, night attack capability and crash-worthy landing gear for better survivability.
The LCH can take out drones with air-to-air missiles. It can also take out tanks on the ground using air to surface anti-tank munitions. It can also be used against slow-moving aircraft and remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs)
The aircraft has similarities with Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv. It 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.
This India-developed rotorcraft 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.