New Delhi: In a big boost to its combat prowess, the Indian Air Force will on Monday induct the first batch of indigenously developed Light Combat Helicopters that are capable of firing a range of missiles and other weapons.
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- The Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), developed by state-run aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), has been primarily designed for deployment in high-altitude regions.
- It will be inducted into the IAF at a ceremony in Jodhpur in the presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, officials said on Sunday.
- The 5.8-tonne twin-engine helicopter has already completed various weapons firing tests, the officials said.
- In March, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approved the procurement of 15 indigenously developed Limited Series Production (LSP) LCH at a cost of ₹ 3,887 crore.
- The defence ministry had said 10 helicopters would be for the IAF and five for the Indian Army.
- The LCH has similarities with Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv. It has a number of stealth features, armoured-protection systems, night attack capability and crash-worthy landing gear for better survivability, the officials said.
- The LCH is equipped with requisite agility, manoeuvrability, extended range, high altitude performance and all-weather combat capability to perform a range of roles including combat search and rescue (CSAR), destruction of enemy air defence (DEAD) and counter-insurgency (CI) operations.
- The helicopter can also be deployed in high-altitude bunker-busting operations, counter-insurgency operations in the jungles and urban environments, as well as for supporting ground forces.
- The helicopter can also be used against slow-moving aircraft and remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs) of adversaries.
- Officials said it would be a potent platform to meet the operational requirements of the IAF and the Indian Army. They said 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 into the LCH for deployment in combat roles.
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