iNDICA NEWS BUREAU
In a major boost to the Indian Air Force’s combat prowess, the first batch of indigenously-developed Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) will be inducted into the IAF inventory at a ceremony in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur today.
The Made-in-India choppers will be inducted in the presence of Defense Minister Rajnath Singh. “The induction of these helicopters will be a big boost to the IAF’s combat prowess,” Singh tweeted.
According to the IAF, the chopper is capable of aerial combat and will help the force combat slow-moving aircraft, drones and armoured columns during conflicts.
Singh was present in the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) which cleared the purchase of 15 LCH for both the IAF and the Indian Army. Of the 15 limited series production helicopters approved, 10 are for the IAF and five for the army.
The 15 LCH were approved at a cost of ₹3,887 crore (approximately $476 million) along with Infrastructure sanctions worth ₹377 crore (approximately $46 million).
It can land and take off from an altitude of 5,000 metres with weapons and fuel, officials said. The choppers have been flown extensively in Ladakh and the desert sector.
To be sure, the IAF has inducted multiple helicopters into its fleet in the last three-four years with the induction of the Chinooks, Apache attack helicopters and now the LCH.
The IAF has begun deploying women pilots in Chinook choppers carrying routine supply missions to the northern and eastern borders.
“This helicopter is equipped with requisite agility, manoeuvrability, extended range, high altitude performance and around-the-clock, all-weather combat capability to perform roles of Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), Destruction of Enemy Air Defence (DEAD), Counter Insurgency (CI) operations, against slow-moving aircraft and Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPAs), high altitude bunker busting operations, Counter Insurgency operations in jungle and urban environments and support to ground forces and would be a potent platform to meet the operational requirements of Indian Air Force and Indian Army,” said the Ministry of Defense.
State-of-the-art technologies and systems compatible with stealth features such as reduced Visual, Aural, Radar and IR signatures and crashworthiness features for better survivability have been integrated in LCH for deployment in combat roles catering to emerging needs for the next three to four decades.
Several key aviation technologies like Glass Cockpit and composite airframe structures have been indigenised. The future Series Production version will consist of further modern & indigenous systems.
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