Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday lamented that adequate attention was not being paid for the development of indigenous attack copters and that its presence was especially felt during the 1999 Kargil war.

Singh made these remarks following induction of the twin-engine 2.8-tonne LCH “Prachand’ at the Jodhpur airbase.

‘Easy enemy targets’

“The recent conflicts in Ukraine and elsewhere have showed us 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,” the Minister said justifying the need to have the LCH.

He also took a sortie on the LCH post its induction. The ceremony was also attended by the newly-appointed Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan and Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshall VR Chaudhary.

The LCH, armed with a 20 mm torret gun and air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, meets the requirements of modern warfare and necessary quality parameters under varied conditions of operations, Singh said. He termed them versatile helicopters that can perform fighting role for the IAF as well as Army. Of the 15 LCH, 10 will be part of Squadron Dhanush, No. 143 Helicopter Unit at Jodhpur. The remaining will go to Army Aviation for deployment in the eastern sector for combat roles along the LAC in Arunachal Pradesh.

Versatile model

Air Chief Marshall VR Chaudhary said the 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 unit has been made based on professional competence so as to ensure operationalisation of the unit at the earliest,” he added.

Squadron Leader Anuj, an LCH pilot, insisted that the “josh is high” and described the induction of the aerial platform as “a big day for the nation”. Co-pilot Squadron Leader Lawpreet Sharma, sharing his flying experience, appreciated features such as state-of-the-art navigation system and new avionics besides tandem seating cockpit of the LCH.

The helicopter also possesses robust armour protection and is capable of operating from high altitude terrain to carry out precision strike even during night.