The Indian Air Force (IAF) will induct the first batch of the indigenously made twin-engine Light Combat Helicopters (LCHs), capable of operating in high altitudes as well as in the desert, on Monday at its Jodhpur airbase.
A day before Air Force Day, the 5.8-tonne weaponised copters armed with 20mm guns and missiles will be inducted into the IAF in the presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari.
Achieved successful testing
Developed by defence Public Sector Undertaking Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), IAF officials said the ten LCH will enhance the combat prowess against the adversary's tanks, bunkers, and UAVs since it has successfully undergone firing tests.
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CSS), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in March approved the procurement of 15 indigenously developed LCHs at ₹3,887 crore.
While ten of them will come into the fold of the IAF, the remaining five in batches will be inducted by Army Aviation which got its first LCH last Thursday at Bengaluru. Another combat helicopter would be handed over to the Army Aviation sometime this month to add to its first LCH Unit which would be eventually deployed in the eastern sector, said Army sources.
The LCH, manufactured at the HAL facility, has 45 per cent indigenous content which is expected to go up by another about ten per cent, with the core component of the Shakti twin-engine developed by the French Safron Group. The copter has advanced avionics allowing it to operate round the clock and in all weather.
(With inputs from PTI)