(MENAFN- Khaleej Times)
In a major boost to the Indian Air Force's (IAF) combat prowess, the first batch of indigenously-developed Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) will be inducted into the IAF inventory at a ceremony in Rajasthan's Jodhpur today.
The indigenous choppers will be inducted into IAF in the presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
'The induction of these helicopters will be a big boost to the IAF's combat prowess,' Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted.
The new chopper getting inducted into the force is capable of aerial combat, and will help the force combat slow-moving aircraft, drones and armoured columns during conflicts.
Singh was also present in the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) which cleared the purchase of 15 of these LCHs for the air force and the army. Of the 15 limited series production helicopters approved, 10 are for the IAF and five for the army. These can land and take off from an altitude of 5,000m with weapons and fuel, the officials said.
The choppers have been flown extensively in Ladakh and the desert sector to meet the requirements of the armed forces. The IAF has inducted multiple helicopters to its fleet in the last 3-4 years — the Chinooks, Apache attack helicopters, and now the LCHs.
The IAF is now also deploying women pilots in Chinook choppers carrying routine supply missions to the northern and eastern borders.
The CCS met under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 30, 2022, in New Delhi. It approved the procurement of 15 Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) at the cost of Rs38.87 billion, along with infrastructure sanctions worth Rs3.77 billion.
These helicopters are indigenously-designed, developed and manufactured state-of-the-art modern combat helicopters containing approximately 45 per cent indigenous content by value. which will progressively increase to more than 55 per cent for the SP version.
'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 Defence.
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 the LCH for deployment in combat roles catering to emerging needs for the next 3 to 4 decades.
Several key aviation technologies like Glass Cockpit and composite airframe structures have been indigenised. The future Series Production (SP) version will consist of further modern & indigenous systems.
Under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan, India is continuously growing in its capability to indigenously design, develop and manufacture advanced cutting-edge technologies and systems in the Defence Sector.
The manufacturing of LCH by the HAL will give a further push to the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative and boost the indigenisation of defence production and the defence industry in the country.
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