Desi Light Combat Helicopter inducted into IAF

This LCH is an attack helicopter that can be used in various roles like anti-armour, counter-insurgency and combat search and rescue.

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The indigenous Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) has been inducted into the Indian Air Force in a ceremony held at Jodhpur Air Force Station which was attended by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and IAF Chief Air Chief Marshall V.R Chaudhari.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted out a video of the helicopter and said, “Naam hai Prachand”, (the name is Prachand).

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“The induction of indigenously developed Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) will enhance our capability and will boost defence production. There could not have been better timing for LCH induction than Navratri and in the land of warriors, Rajasthan,” Singh said.

The Cabinet Committee on Security, presided by the Prime Minister, approved the purchase of 15 LCH Limited Series Production (LSP) aircraft in March for a cost of Rs 3,887 crore, along with related infrastructure sanctions costing Rs 377 crore. This month, the LCH was formally introduced. Ten of the 15 helicopters being purchased from the LSP will be used by the Indian Army and five by the IAF.

Due to the tandem cockpit design for the pilot and co-pilot gunner, LCH has a small fuselage. For increased survivability, it boasts a multitude of stealth features, armour protection, night attack capability, and crash-worthy landing gear.

The LCH is armed with a 20mm M621 cannon, it can be fitted with a variety of 60 and 80 mm rockets, Mistral air-to-air missiles, HELINA anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM), cluster and conventional bombs.

This chopper is an attack helicopter that can be used in various roles like anti-armour, counter-insurgency and combat search and rescue.

With a service ceiling of 6500m, one of the highest in the world, it can be deployed to mountainous regions of Siachen, Ladakh and parts of Kashmir.

This helicopter was conceptualized after the Kargil War as India’s inventory of attack helicopters, which mainly consisted of Mi-25 and Mi-35 lacked the ability to fly at high altitudes and perform attack roles, thus, the Mi-17 utility helicopters were temporarily modified to fire rockets at Pakistani positions at the heights of Kargil.

The LCH will provide a much-needed boost to the Indian Army and the IAF in their attack capabilities complimenting the American AH-64 Apache and Rudra attack helicopters. It will also be an attractive export option for HAL.