Indian Air Force Light Combat Helicopter (LCH): In a major boost to self-reliance in defence sector, Indian Air Force Monday inducted the first batch of locally designed and developed light combat helicopter (LCH), known as Prachand (Fierce). India’s defence minister Rajnath Singh, who presided over the ceremony in western state of Rajasthan near Pakistan border, said the induction of indigenously designed and developed helicopter was a pointer to the future when Indian Air Force will be the top most force in the world.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the induction of LCH, with its tremendous power and versatility, not only enhances the combat capabilities of IAF but is also a big step towards self-reliance in defense production, as envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched a massive self-reliance scheme in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic to reduce the country’s dependence in critical sectors, including defence.
Rajnath Singh said the trust reposed and support extended by the IAF towards indigenous design & development is evident through the examples such as Marut, Light Combat Aircraft, Akash missile system, Advanced Light Helicopter and the Light Combat Helicopter.
“The induction of LCH underlines the fact that just as the country trusts the Indian Air Force, the IAF equally trusts the indigenous equipment,” said the minister.
Rajnath Singh said that adequate attention was not paid to the development of indigenous attack helicopters for a long time after independence. However, since the Kargil War in 1999, the need for LCH was felt more and today’s LCH was a result of two decades of R&D and indigenous efforts in that direction.
Singh added that LCH was flying not only on the strength of its rotors, engines and blades, but also on the strength of penance, patience, dedication and patriotism of many scientists, engineers and others.
Singh said that not only the LCH meets the requirements of modern warfare and necessary quality parameters under varied conditions of operations but it was also capable of self-protection with the ability to carry a wide variety of ammunition, and deliver it to the field quickly.
“This versatile helicopter perfectly meets the needs of our armed forces in various terrains and as such LCH is an ideal platform for both our Army and Air Force,” said the minister.
Russia-Ukraine War exposed weakness of heavy platforms
Referring to ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, Indian defence minister said that the recent conflicts in Ukraine and elsewhere showed us that heavy weapon systems and platforms, which do not allow for rapid movement in the battlefield, are sometimes vulnerable and become easy targets for the enemy.
Singh said therefore, the need of the hour is to move towards the development of those equipment and platforms, which are mobile, have ease of movement, are more flexible, and at the same time meet the requirements of the armed forces.
In this context, LCH has been developed with an unprecedented balance of all these features and HAL should be congratulated for this, he said.
Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhary, Chief of Air Staff said that the induction of LCH adds unique capability to the IAF’s combat potential.
“Versatility and offensive potential of the LCH is at par or better than most attack helicopters operating globally. Selection of the personnel in the 143-helicopter unit which will man the LCH have been made based on professional competence so as to ensure operationalisation of the unit at the earliest,” IAF Chief told the media.
India’s Light Combat Helicopter (LCH)
The LCH is the first indigenous Multi-Role Combat Helicopter designed and manufactured by HAL. It has potent ground attack and aerial combat capability. Inducted in IAF’s newly raised No. 143 Helicopter Unit, it is a testimony to India’s growing prowess in indigenous design, development & manufacturing and a significant milestone in the path towards self-reliance (Atmanirbharta) in Defence, said the ministry of defence.
India’s Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) possesses modern stealth characteristics, robust armour protection and formidable night attack capability. LCH has onboard advanced navigation system, guns tailored for close combat and potent air to air missiles make the LCH especially suited for the modern battlefield.
Light Combat Helicopter is capable of operating from high altitude terrain and carrying out precision strike at high altitude targets, the helicopter is a formidable addition to IAF’s arsenal.
Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Anil Chauhan, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal V.R. Chaudhary, Air Marshal Vikram Singh Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, South Western Air Command, Chairman and Managing Director of HAL C.B. Ananthakrishnan, senior officials of Ministry of Defence, IAF and local dignitaries were present on the occasion.