On Wednesday, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) put its stamp of approval for the procurement of 15 Light Combat Helicopters from state owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
The meeting which met under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi has approved the procurement of the “Limited Series Production (LSP) at the cost of Rs 3,887 crore and Infrastructure sanctions worth Rs 377 crore,” official statement issued by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) stated.
Out of the 15 helicopters that will be manufactured at HAL facility, Indian Air Force (IAF) will get 10 and the Indian Army will get five.
As has been reported by Financial Express Online earlier, both services have a total requirement of around 160 LCH and according to a senior officer IAF will get 65 and the balance will be for the Indian Army. In 2020, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) had approved the proposal for an initial batch of 15 LCHs.
IAF and Army services had issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for 15 LSP helicopters which included 10 for IAF and for the Indian Army 5, and cost negotiations and technical evaluations were carried out. HAL had already initiated the production of LSP helicopters in anticipation of the orders from IAF and the Army.
Following the Galwan Valley clash in eastern Ladakh, in August 2020, the IAF had decided to deploy two LCH for operations at high altitude. These indigenous helicopters have the capability to meet the demands of the armed forces and to give support to the IAF at short notice.
These helicopters have been playing a very critical role along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) since the Indian Army and the Chinese PLA clashed in 2020 and have displayed their quick deployment ability in forward locations in extreme temperatures and difficult terrains.
The training for the first batch of IAF personnel has already commenced at the Helicopter Division located in Bengaluru.
More about LCH
This is indigenous and has been designed and developed and manufactured state of the art machines. It has around 45 per cent indigenous content by value which according to the MoD is expected to increase up to 55 percent for Series Production (SP) version.
It is equipped with extended range, high altitude performance, maneuverability, requisite agility, around-the-clock, and all-weather combat capability. This will help it to perform roles of Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), Destruction of Enemy Air Defence (DEAD), and Counter Insurgency (CI) operations in jungles and urban environments. It can be deployed against slow moving aircraft, high altitude bunker busting operations and Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPAs).
This helicopter is ideal to meet the operational demands of both the services.
What is onboard?
On this helicopter there will be state of the art technologies, systems that are compatible with stealth features including reduced Visual, Aural, Radar and IR signatures.
Crash worthiness features for better survivability have been integrated in this deadly combat machine which is going to be deployed in combat roles and will cater to emerging threats for the next few decades.
Several key aviation technologies like Glass Cockpit and composite airframe structures have been indigenized. And the future SP version will consist of further modern & indigenous systems.
According to the MoD statement, the manufacturing of this helicopter in India will give a boost to the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative and will boost indigenization of the defence industry and production in the country. Also, once these machines are produced in India, it will reduce import dependence of Combat helicopters for the armed forces. It is already in the import embargo list and has the export capability.