On October 3, 2022, Indian Air Force (IAF) inducted the first indigenously developed multirole Light Combat Helicopters (LCH), named Prachanda (Fierce), into its 143 Helicopter Unit at the Jodhpur Air Force Station, Rajasthan.
- These LCHs are Limited Series Production(LSP) of 10 choppers for IAF. As of now, 4 have been delivered and inducted, and the rest will be delivered by the end of 2022.
- This induction makes India the 7th country in the world to make attack helicopters.
The induction ceremony was presided over by Union Minister Rajnath Singh, Ministry of Defence (MoD) in the presence of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Anil Chauhan; and Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari at the Jodhpur base.
Prachanda is developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) in collaboration with French engine-maker Safran.
- It is designed for High altitude Areas.
i.It is 5.8-tonne twin-engine LCH equipped with Shakti engine
ii.It is armed with 20mm turret guns, 70mm rocket systems and air-to-air missiles.
iii.It is equipped with requisite agility, manoeuvrability, extended range, high altitude performance and all-weather combat capability.
- It also has stealth features, armoured-protection systems, night attack capability and crash-worthy landing gear for better survivability.
iv.It can perform various roles including Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), Destruction of Enemy Air Defence (DEAD) and Counter-Insurgency (CI) operations, high-altitude bunker-busting operations in the jungles, urban environments and for supporting ground forces.
v.It can also be used against slow-moving aircraft and remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs) of adversaries.
vi.It is capable of self-protection, of carrying a wide variety of ammunition, and delivering it to the field quickly.
The induction followed the approval of Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in March 2022 for the procurement of 15 LCH LSP for Rs 3,887 crore along with allied infrastructure sanctions worth Rs 377 crore. Of the 15 helicopters being procured from the LSP, 10 are for the IAF and 5 for the Indian Army.
Point to be noted:
i.The LSP version of the LCH has around 45% indigenous content by value which will be further increased to 55% for the Series Production version.
ii.Prachanda is the only attack helicopter in the world that can fly and take off at an altitude of 5,000 metres with considerable weapons and fuel load, meeting the specific requirement of armed forces.
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About Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)
Chairman and Managing Director – C B Ananthakrishnan (Addl. Charge)
Headquarter– Bengaluru, Karnataka