Air Force Gets First Made in India light Combat Helicopter
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh presided over the induction ceremony along with the new Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Anil Chauhan and Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari. The name, Prachand which means fierce was announced during the ceremony in which ‘sarv-dharam’ prayer was also performed.
The first batch of 10 LCH is being inducted into the IAF’s 143 Helicopter Unit. It is a 5.5-tonne class dedicated combat helicopter suitable for operating on high-altitude battlefields, and capable of destroying enemy air defence and engaging in counter-insurgency operations.
It will also add a significant edge to the IAF’s combat prowess as it can hit enemy targets with precision.
LCH is now finally inducted after the Cabinet Committee on Security, chaired by the Prime Minister, approved in March the procurement of 15 LCH Limited Series Production (LSP) for Rs 3,887 crore along with allied infrastructure sanctions worth Rs 377 crore.
The defence ministry had said 10 helicopters would be for the IAF and five for the Indian Army.
The LCH has a narrow fuselage because of the tandem cockpit configuration for the pilot and co-pilot gunner, one behind the other and has stealth features, armour safeguard, night attack capabilities, requisite agility, manoeuvrability, extended range, high altitude performance and crash-worthy landing gear for better survivability.
Speaking at the ceremony, Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari, said, “The induction of LCH adds a unique capability to IAF’s combat potential. The versatility and offensive protection of this platform are at par or better among attack helicopters available globally.
143 Helicopter Unit has the proud privilege to be the first LCH equipped in the Armed Forces. The personnel of the unit have been specially selected for their professional competence so as to operationalise the unit at the earliest.”