Indigenously designed and developed Light Combat Helicopter inducted into Indian Air Force
Jodhpur, October 3, 2022
The indigenously designed and developed Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) was today formally inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) in a ceremony presided over by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at Jodhpur in Rajasthan.
The induction of the LCH, designed and developed by the public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), is being seen as a big boost to self-reliance in defence.
Naming the LCH as “Prachanda”, Rajnath Singh said the induction was a pointer to the future when the IAF would emerge as one of the best air forces in the world and was a step towards making the country fully self-reliant in defence production.
Rajnath Singh also took a sortie onboard the LCH shortly after its induction into IAF.
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, HAL Chairman and Managing Director C. B. Ananthakrishnan, senior officials of Ministry of Defence, IAF and local dignitaries were present on the occasion.
In his address to the gathering, Rajnath Singh praised the role of IAF in meeting internal as well as external threats to the country since independence. He added that the induction of LCH, with its tremendous power and versatility, would enhance the combat capabilities of IAF.
He said the trust reposed and support extended by the IAF towards indigenous design and 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,” he added.
The Minister 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.
He said the 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.
Rajnath Singh noted that the LCH meets the requirements of modern warfare and necessary quality parameters under varied conditions of operations. It is capable of self-protection, of carrying a wide variety of ammunition, and delivering 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," he added.
The Minister said that the recent conflicts in Ukraine and elsewhere showed 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. 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 Chaudhary 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 has been made based on professional competence so as to ensure operationalisation of the unit at the earliest, he added.
The LCH is the first indigenous Multi-Role Combat Helicopter designed and manufactured by HAL. It has potent ground attack and aerial combat capability.
It has been inducted in IAF’s newly raised No. 143 Helicopter Unit.
The helicopter possesses modern stealth characteristics, robust armour protection and formidable night attack capability. Onboard advanced navigation system, guns tailored for close combat and potent air to air missiles make the LCH especially suited for the modern battlefield. 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, an official press release added.