Srinagar, Oct 4: India has inducted first indigenously developed light combat helicopter into the Indian Air Force (IAF) arsenal.
Defense minister Rajnath Singh presided over the formal induction of Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), designed and developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), into the Indian Air Force (IAF) in Jodhpur.
Naming LCH as “Prachanda”, Singh said that its induction comes during the Amrit kal when the Nation is celebrating Azadi ka Amrit Mahostav and a pointer to the future when IAF will be the top most force in the world, as also making the country fully AtmaNirbhar in Defence production requirements. Raksha Mantri also took a sortie onboard the LCH shortly after its induction into IAF.
Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Anil Chauhan, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal V.R. Chaudhary, Air Marshal Vikram Singh Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, South Western Air Command, Chairman and Managing Director of HAL Shri C.B. Ananthakrishnan, senior officials of Ministry of Defence, IAF and local dignitaries were present on the occasion.
In his address, Rajnath Singh praised role of IAF in meeting internal as well as external threats to the country since independence. He added that the induction of LCH, with its tremendous power and versatility, not only enhances the combat capabilities of IAF but is also a big step towards self-reliance in defense production, as envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The trust reposed and support extended by the IAF towards indigenous design and development is evident through the examples such as Marut, Light Combat Aircraft, Akash missile system, Advanced Light Helicopter and the Light Combat Helicopter.
“The induction of LCH underlines the fact that just as the country trusts the Indian Air Force, the IAF equally trusts the indigenous equipment,” he added.
Defense minister noted that the LCH meets the requirements of modern warfare and necessary quality parameters under varied conditions of operations.
It is capable of self-protection, of carrying a wide variety of ammunition, and delivering it to the field quickly. This versatile helicopter perfectly meets the needs of our armed forces in various terrains and as such LCH is an ideal platform for both our Army and Air Force, he added.
Singh said that the recent conflicts in Ukraine and elsewhere 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 LCH is the first indigenous Multi-Role Combat Helicopter designed and manufactured by HAL. It has potent ground attack and aerial combat capability. Inducted in IAF’s newly raised No. 143 Helicopter Unit.