From Jodhpur Air Force Base
Indian Air Force has formally inducted Light Combat Helicopters made here in India and is comparable to the world class helicopters like Apache AH-6E which are already part of the IAF Fleet and were procured through Foreign Military Sales from the US.
These helicopters are ideal to be deployed in the high altitude sector along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and on the Siachen Glacier or Kargil sector.
Apache Vs LCH
On the steep terrain and slopes in Kargil and on Siachen Glacier at a high altitude this helicopter can easily take off and land unlike the Apache which is not equipped to do so. This is because the Light Combat helicopter is not only light but it has unique rotors which is why they are ideal for difficult terrains.
The Made in India helicopter has the capacity to carry 700 Kg of weaponry which is less than Apache. This helicopter according to officials can carry rocket pods, bombs on its four hard points and also missiles. And in the front of the nose there is a movable turret which can hold a 20mm M621 gun.
As has been reported this attack helicopter is the only such machine in the world in its weight class which can not only land but also take off from an altitude of 16400 feet.
Before being inducted in the Indian Air Force & Indian Army these machines have undergone several tests in which weapons and fuel have been used. This was done to check the possibility of the LCH taking off and landing fully loaded.
Two helicopters have been stationed along the LAC in eastern Ladakh since August 2020 and were being operated by the IAF even before they formally joined the service. These were deployed in the sector to support the IAF in its mission.
HAL & LCH
It took 15 years to have a combat helicopter which is specifically suited to combat requirements of the Indian Armed Forces.
In March 2022, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi authorised the purchase of 15 indigenous LCH at a cost of Rs 3387 crore from HAL.
Which other helicopters IAF has in its fleet?
Besides the 22 heavy-duty Apache attack helicopters loaded with Hellfire and Stinger missiles, IAF also has the Russian Mi-17 V5 equipped with NLOS (non-line of sight) missiles from Israel.